Birthday Party

Last night’s Open Studio wound up getting pre-empted by a newly-minted thirteen-year-old’s birthday party. It was the most fun I’ve had all week.

We started off with some hand-building, moved on to pizza and ice cream cake, and then tried out the wheel. There were two incredibly hyper ones who took up a lot of energy[1] but were a laugh all the same, and some quiet ones who got straight to work making things, and a few in between.

The quietest one came up to me afterwards and said the thing she liked most was that, once you know how all the things on the wheel fit together (it’s a horizontal plane spinning around, clay is in the middle), you just need to think logically to figure out how to make things.

[1] “Are we the weirdest people you’ve ever met?” That’s a dangerous question. If I say yes, I’m encouraging you to keep it up, and if I say no, I’m encouraging you to keep it up. I wound up opting for honesty, and said “No” every time they asked.

Drop-in Class

One family (two siblings and their mom) tried the wheel. Just as they were finishing up, another group (two friends) came in, also for the wheel.

I think this was the least hectic class I’ve taught since… oh, whenever the first one was, months back. Wow.

After class, I hung around the studio to glaze a few pate dishes and teacups, and to throw a few things. More pate dishes, since they seem to be going faster than the mugs, and I’d like to re-stock the shop soon. Also, two shaving bowls, commissioned for a guy and his brother. He wanted them straight up and down on the inside, so the soap didn’t move around too much, but curved on the outside, so they’re easy to hold in wet soapy hands.

Ho hum.

Mostly a quiet week in the studio. There hasn’t been enough glazed work ready for a firing, so the cephalopots have been waiting patiently for their days in the kiln. The spring clay order still hasn’t shown up, so there haven’t been any new Bug pieces, either. My gallery submission for the Annual Members’ Exhibit broke[1], so I’ll be missing yet another gallery show deadline. No-one showed up for Open Studio Friday, but I did get a batch of Cranberry glaze mixed up. Thursday’s glaze chem class was pretty low-key… mostly, we just mixed up the last few glaze tests.

The drop-in class today was fun, though. We had two teenagers and an eleven-year-old doing sculpture and trying the wheel[2], and then a couple came in to try the wheel. There were also three Open Studio users weaving in and out… it was like a party.[3]

[1] The surviving half is doing service as a pencil holder by the studio sign-in book.

[2] The eleven-year-old was a natural. She needed help centering (everyone does), but her first piece actually held up. Most of the time, the first piece collapses, and the first piece people actually get to take home is their second attempt.

[3] A very low-key, muddy party…

Barter

I’m teaching drop-in classes in exchange for a spot in the glaze chemistry course that’s happening next week. I’m pretty happy about this. Not only do I get a free class (in an area of pottery that’s complicated enough that it would probably be a lot more useful than groping around in the dark on my own, which is my usual method of finding things out), but I get to practice teaching.

I spent years thinking I was a crap teacher. I used to do French conversation classes in university. I know my stuff, and was always able to answer the questions people had, so I felt okay during class… but as soon as it ended I would realize I was sweating and shaky. I could ignore the stage fright enough to get through the hour, but it was still there in the background. The last few months, though, I’ve been assisting or teaching workshops, and it’s been completely different. I really enjoy teaching people to work with clay… I like the hands-on approach that’s necessary, and I like the informal nature of art classes. And it’s hard to get stage fright from a bunch of people who are focusing on their projects, not me.