An Adventure in Clay Modelling
Potter for a Day
At the Artists' group I belong to, one of the other members was also a potter. She offered to hold a session to introduce those who wished to make something with clay. I thought I'd love to, but as I'd tried once before years ago and had found that working in 3-D was very different, I was so disappointed with my results that I had not tried for years.
Actually, that's not quite true when I think about it. I've used clay when teaching, but that was different, as I was encouraging the children to make things. And when we first lived in Papua New Guinea our two girls were small and I home-schooled them, beginning with kindergarten. We invited a few of the local children to join and we had lots of fun together. One day we took buckets and spades and walked up the track to a creek I had noticed. There was lovely white clay there in the bank and we collected some, carried it back and the next day we made things with it and then cooked them in the oven of our fire stove where I also cooked our bread. One of the things that my eldest daughter made was a watch. She has never forgotten how disappointed she was that after it was cooked it did not go!
Also, I now have a granddaughter who teaches ceramics at both a school and TAFE and she makes the most brilliant things. She's the daughter of the watch-maker.
Anyway, rather tentatively, I joined the group.
The materials were quite basic and easy to use. There may have been others, but these are what I remember using most:
- Wooden spoons
- Steel knitting needles
All we had to take was lots of newspaper and old shirts for protecting our clothes. Our teacher would bring the rest.
On the day, we arrived with our newspapers and shirts - and lots of enthusiasm.
The papers were soon spread out. We were each given strips of clay and a selection of tools was laid out for our use.
Then our teacher began to explain how to build up a figure that would be hollow. She suggested that we could use the finished product to store our paint-brushes or it might make a good flower-pot. I thought the latter might be a good idea.
Have you ever had fun and tried to make something in clay?
The teacher demonstrated how to join and smooth our clay so that we had a hollow in the middle. Oh, yes, there was also water as we had to keep the clay damp.
The demonstration model was a bust and I liked the way she did this, but once I had the basic shape I thought I'd make mine a little more modest and added strips of 'ribbon' so it looked as if it were clad.
Some of the others made the bust or a whole torso, or one person even turned hers into a dog, with the head removable as a lid.
On the Way
There was much concentration, laughter and we all had a great time. In fact, we couldn't believe where the time had gone.
My model was a little crooked but I was really pleased with the result and the fun we'd had. I thought I couldn't do it, but found that I could!
Now all I need to do is persuade my granddaughter that it needs to be baked in her kiln. The unfired finished product is at the top of my hub.
If ever you have the opportunity to do something like this, do it!
I can recommend it - great therapy and so much fun.