Experiments in beginner pottery

Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}

It’s been a while since I shared what I’ve been making in my weekly pottery classsomething special I do for myself now that our youngest is in Primary, yayyyy!

I shared the first batch of finished pieces back in October, about a month after starting the class, and then shared more finished pieces in November. So everything below is what’s come out of the kiln from November until the end of March. (I’ll share the newest pieces soon, once I’ve caught up here on the ol’ blog.)

Let’s dive in!

Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Big Kahuna Bowl.” The biggest, heaviest cereal bowl you’ve ever seen!
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
The “bird’s nest” bowl. (Thrown on the wheel, and then I used a dental scraper to attack the outside.)
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Dark Blue, Dark Blue.” Cup thrown on the wheel, then I carved a textured pattern into the outside, and dipped it haphazardly in deep blue glaze. I really like this one!

Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Fail Bowl.” I threw it on the wheel and came back the following week to see it had cracked all to hell. I patched it. The next week, I re-patched it. I fought with this bowl and insisted I could fix it. I couldn’t. Oh well — the “chum white” glaze is pretty. 😉
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“My first (and likely only) goblet.” I threw the top and bottom separately, and then attached them the following week. Isn’t the blue glaze pretty? (It’s heavy AF)
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Pinch Pot: The Return.” I did this at the end of class one day, with some leftover clay I didn’t feel like putting back in my bag.
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Hermetically Sealed Pot.” For real. it doesn’t open. I accidentally glazed it shut. Whoops!
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Drunk Brown Bowl.” This was a very wobbly throwing attempt. There’s a pretty swirl on the inside, but I don’t like how I did the outside. I used nail polish as a glaze resist, and it looks too streaky.
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Not An Ashtray.” This was a thrown bowl that went all wonky so I tried to salvage it by curving the rim in an interesting way. It’s literally a perfect ashtray, judging by how my SoftLips fits snugly in the grooves. We use it on the kitchen windowsill for lip balm and spare change.
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Pinch Pot: The Adventures Continue.” I made this one when I brought some clay home for the kids to make something, and I was in the middle of making dinner. It’s quick and dirty, but I do like pinch pots. My fingerprints are forever preserved in them.
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Flowers Hide All Mistakes.” I was pretty proud of this early throwing attempt, and I remember wanting to conceal a boo-boo so I glopped on some balls of wet clay. The next week, I decided they looked like flowers so I sculpted some other flowers and added them. Then I glazed the whole thing a few weeks later with brushes and bottles of glaze, rather than dipping it like usual.
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Sgraffito Surprise!” This is a technique where you carve designs into coloured clay or clay with coloured slip, so the underlayer shows through. I threw this bowl and covered it with black slip, and then carved into it. Carving is SO FUN.
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Sgraffito’s Little Sister.” This is a really small thrown bowl, also covered with black slip and then carved. I think I might have done this one first actually. It’s cute.
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Those Speckles Tho.” This is a simple thrown bowl partially dipped in a brown glaze, and then the whole thing was dipped in clear glaze, I think. I love the speckles. It looks so “classic pottery” to me.
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Kind of a Plate.” I don’t really make plates, so this was the closest attempt in this batch. Or is it just a shallow bowl? Who knows? I did the outside carving while it was on the wheel. It’s a scribbly up-and-down motion that takes two seconds but looks pretty professional.
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“The Glaze Bucket Was Cold.” This one’s not great. Small thrown bowl with crappily-applied light grey glaze. I think the glaze was cold that day, or maybe I just didn’t mix it enough. Glaze is still a bit of a mystery to me and my fellow students.
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“The Bowl Broke But I Saved The Bottom.” Yes, I was trying to make a big bowl and I can’t remember exactly what happened but shit went down, and it broke on the wheel. I decided to save the bottom and carve into it (while it was still wet, on the wheel) and then I punched a hole in it and called it a trivet. So it’s a trivet.
Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
“Heather Really Likes Carving.” Tiny thrown bowl with a zillion carving lines, partially dipped in brown glaze and then fully dipped in clear glaze.

As you can see, not everything in pottery turns out the way you plan it! In fact, most stuff doesn’t — at least for those of us who are beginners.

We start with a ball of clay and joke about not being sure what we’re making because we’re “going to let the clay decide what it wants to be,” and it’s not really a joke — sometimes the clay really does decide, not us!

If you’ve ever thought about taking a pottery class, I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s so much fun, you get to take home really cool pieces (to keep or give as gifts to unsuspecting family members).

Um, in the case of “Fail Bowl,” I think nobody is going to want that one, which means it will go to my office to hold sewing pins a.k.a. Where The Bad Pottery Goes To Pasture.

Experiments in beginner pottery {Heather's Handmade Life}
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