Monday, November 15, 2010

Pottery Workshop with Susan Jorgensen

I spent a wonderful, yet very tiring weekend, at a workshop with Susan Jorgensen at the Blacktown Arts & Crafts Group.

I have had very little training in pottery so far but I am fascinated to find out if I can convert my skills with drawing and pastels to 3D. The workshop was full on, very physical (more so than painting) and there was so much to learn.

Did I decide to start on something simple?  No, of course not. Did I decide to work on something small?  No, of course not.

But if I hadn't made those decisions I don't think I'd have learnt as much as I did. A smaller piece wouldn't have involved all the techniques I was shown, and it would have been a pity to miss out on that.

I am working on a pelican. Using the techniques taught by Susan, I think next time I will pick something with a more upright shape... but that's another story!

This is the body of the pelican (it is sitting, not standing btw) and is about 2 feet long! I can see all the flaws and imperfections, but I made a hollow shape that stands on its own in 1 day! That is an achievement for me for sure.

By the end of the second day I had the neck and head in place. I learnt how to add a new section of clay to a leatherhard section, how to join two pieces of leatherhard clay, I learnt how to make a pinch pot (after many attempts!), I learnt not to be afraid of the clay and what has to be removed to make the piece better. I had a piece that was beginning to look like a pelican (you can see the photo I was working from in the background).

I am going back on Wednesday morning to get the beak on, and hopefully to start on the wings and add some texture. I will also place it on a stand to lift the tail up at more of an angle.

No matter how successful this piece is or isn't, I'm not going to be as tentative about working the clay after taking this workshop.

So stay tuned for further pottery instalments alongside the art.  This is going to be fun!

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