Have you ever just clicked with something right away and it was so easy? The first time you tried it, it felt like you had been doing it forever? Well, the wheel and I do not have that kind of relationship. I believe I have mentioned before that the first planter head I made was because I was so frustrated throwing a pot that I walked away and just started playing with clay and et viola, my planter head adventure really began. So why go back to the wheel then if making heads makes me happy and I am good at it?
Well, first of all, I am not a quitter. When the going gets rough I just keep slogging through it so hello wheel, I am back! In reality, I love to hand build with clay which involves rolling and attaching slabs of clay or sculpting from a ball of clay to make one of my planter heads. All that being said, my mind is constantly thinking of ideas and things that I want to make and some of these just happen to start with something from the wheel and then altering them to be something else entirely. Because I need the wheel to make these, I signed up for my second wheel class. Now I just finished one 8 week session and I only wanted to throw bowl shapes and do absolutely no handbuilding. After 8 weeks, I believe I made maybe 6 “bowlish” items. Now I am going to cut myself some slack because in the middle of that I was on vacation and also getting ready for the huge Tennessee Craft Fair so although I told myself that I would only throw on those nights, I did have to do some glazing, just to get my pieces through the kiln before the big show. Still, it was not a stellar 8 weeks so I’m off to try once again.
I can hear all the thoughts in your head asking why is it so hard to do the wheel? Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze did it without a problem and shoot, he was a ghost! Maybe it is easy for some people, but I think for me it is a matter of control and strength. You have to control the clay and I think I am afraid I’ll push it too far, so eventually I do. I’m also very detail oriented and with clay spinning around on a wheel sometimes things don’t line up exactly as you want them to, so you have to let loose a bit, not my best attribute. I’m an “all the ducks in a row” kind of person by nature. It makes for a very clean and organized closet, but probably not for working with the wheel, so I am working through that and trying to relax more when I throw.
Now you are asking yourself why do something you do not enjoy (yet) and frankly dread. Well, a few of my teachers said that they had the same problem and they just kept on trying until they got it. I look at their work now and it is beautiful, so I am hopeful. Plus, I don’t walk away from something that is hard. If you don’t challenge yourself then you stagnate and just keep making the same things over and over. I love my planter heads and will keep making them but there are other things I want to try as well. Take my obsession with bowls and only wanting to make them right now. The whole reason I want to master a bowl shape is because I want to then change it into an animal. I’ll put some work in progress photos of my animal bowls so you can see what I am trying to do, but the possibilities are limitless and shoot, these are fun to make! What animals would you want to see?