Getting My Hands Dirty: Adventures with Ceramics

Even if we’re involved in art, we tend to stick to mediums that are familiar. For example, my college campus has a ceramics studio in their art building, but I have never been inside in all my three years at this school. Until now.

DSC08746This weekend, I strapped on an apron and got my

sister, who is an art minor, to give me a tour. She began with the bucket of wet, slimy clay (called “slip”). After this clay has the excess water removed, it’s usable for projects. Next, she took me to the wedging tables, where artists knead the clay until it’s solid enough to work with. When I tried wedging, I was surprised by how fast the clay dries out.

Then I got to try wheel-thrown pottery. First, my sister showed me how to center the clay by bracing my palms on the rapidly spinning wheel. I couldn’t get my lump centered. Then I pushed too hard and pulled it completely off the wheel. After a couple more tries, we decided I should just make my object by hand.

Meanwhile, my sister started molding another lump of clay on the wheel. I watched her DSC08744press her thumb on top of the lump to hollow out the middle, eventually forming a bowl. I was impressed by the next step—she pulled on the sides to make them tall and thin.

Although I got really messy, I enjoyed working with ceramics. I’m tempted to go back and see if I can get an object to stay on the center of the wheel.

The results. Mine is on the right.
The results. Mine is on the right.

Want to learn more about ceramics?

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