Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On Taking a Break, and One-Handed Goblets

Soon I will take a two-week break from all things clay, and travel to Israel and Amsterdam to spend time with family. I will leave rawware drying, and bisqueware waiting, ready to be glazed. I will visit parents' graves, and gather for joyful meals with siblings and their families in Israel. In Amsterdam, I will see my daughter who is studying there. I will come back, I hope, with a spirit refreshed and hands ready to take up my work in the basement again.

Until I leave next week, I am making goblets and little plates. The goblets are new in the repertoire. I am throwing them in one piece (stem and cup as one unit), and trimming out excess clay from the base once they harden a bit. They're sweet vessels.

Something that has changed from 1985, when I started working in clay, is that now there is YouTube. I learned to throw one-piece goblets this week from videos found there. There is a marvelous British potter named Dick Unsworth, with a video I especially liked. (I have enclosed a link.) I followed his process, though my shape of cup is more tapered, with less belly, and the goblets are smaller in general. Mr. Unsworth seems to have lost his hand at the wrist to some vagary of fate, and so he throws pots using one hand and one blunt-ended wrist. The wrist, interestingly, seems to be to his advantage in some respects. It makes a nice supporting and pushing tool.

Human ingenuity and drive are beautiful. I learn from all my teachers as I find them.

See you in a couple of weeks!

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