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My expirience after to do video-tutorial about handbuilding techniques.

Updated on September 11, 2015

"... I know what pottery may become. I also know that during its creation we are likely to encounter a metaphysical factor, which can be the source of amazement and childlike joy" [Małgorzata Skałuba-Krentowicz]. I couldn’t agree more with these words. They were said by my friend, who also is a potter.

Ladies, handbuilding techniques
Ladies, handbuilding techniques

Thirty year experience as a potter

Thirty year experience as a potter seems to allow you to instruct others in the field of pottery, especially in the field of basic hand-building techniques. At least that’s what we’d thought before we carried out the TTAL project. Placing the camcorder in front of an experienced potter and recording in high quality all the actions was supposed to be enough to make the best tutorials ever about the basic hand-building methods. It was to be pleasant, enjoyable and short, not longer than a standard lesson in the workshop.

We did so.

The final product was essentially flawless; we know our craft perfectly after all. It was cinematically correct; we gained some experience. It was, however, terribly boring; boring as well as extremely disappointing. The films failed to convey our feelings towards pottery because of the lack of a spoken word. Have you ever been ashamed, embarrassed or bewildered? It isn’t pleasant when you feel all this at the same time.


The pinched method
The pinched method

We decided to start all over again. Everything we’d done was thrown away.

When you want to talk about the basic methods of forming clay and you’ve been a potter for more than thirty years, you must overcome the problem of explaining the obvious. You already know that every set of knowledge can be well ordered, but the vast majority of this knowledge you use subconsciously. You have this knowledge and you do not think how to do but what to do. It is similar to metaphysical feelings – you just know how things work and you don’t think about why they work is such a manner. We’ve had to analyze and synthesize the results to move forward. We identified five methods of clay hand-building and defined seven rules which must be obeyed while working with clay. We also proved that every activity you’re involved in during working with clay is commonly known from everyday life.

Fire and cup
Fire and cup

And once more... we threw everything away.

Learning the techniques gives you a basis to fulfill your ideas. Thanks to them you’ll be able to fulfill any ceramic project. Yes, we are fully confident that after watching our tutorials you’ll be able to build almost any form. But reducing pottery to purely technique matters would be a simplification.Thirty years devoted to pottery require something more personal.

This time our project may fight for the title: The best in the world set of tutorials describing the methods of hand-building.

The final version was made in the space of two years.

Episode:The Imprint Method

© 2015 Aleksandra Kwolek

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