12 Step Program
Last summer I offered a one day introductory course at Pinecroft. I had one student that was hooked and wanted more. I tried to get rid of her and told her to take some courses at the local guild. She phoned me last month and said she had taken 3 courses and wanted more of me. Well, I had to give more thought. I emailed her and said only if it was 3 hours on Monday morning and the 3 hours the next day on Tuesday so she could finish what she started. To my surprise she said “Yes”.
Bring your work for me to see and get ready to do repetition work was my answer. Well as suspected the work was at a beginner level. So often I have had to deal with people that say that they have been in clay for 15 years. Really????????????? How come your work is at such a beginner level? 15 years of golf, tennis, a career, a family and pottery as a side line does not count as 15 years. Sorry, but 15 years means 15 years of blood , sweat and tears.
So I set out my 12 step program that started with flat bottom mugs. I showed her some from my cupboard- Dan Finnegan, Ed Drahancuk,, Andrew Kellner, John Glick, MacKenzie Smith, Mark Pharis, my uncle, Ruggles and Rankin, Linda Christianson, Allison Coles Severance and others. I wanted 15 cups this morning and ended up with 10. She claimed she made 13 pieces in 8 weeks at the Guild so we are off to a good start. Homework for tonight was U-tube Pete Pinnell – Thoughts on cups and read the first two chapters of Clary Illian’s- A Potter’s Worksbook. I realized a while ago nobody wants to be me. They say they want to be a potter and wake up on Monday morning with all the creature comforts of another life. I’m giving her 6 weeks of 2 days a week- 12 step program. . Golf, tennis, cards at lunch take your pick. You wanna make pots- welcome to Hell. The Devil awaits you.
1. Work from a model using gauges. Have it in your mind what the final form will be before you sit at the wheel.
2. Don't treat any single piece as being precious.
Throw 100 & only keep the 10 best. In the beginning, if the clay doesn't do what we want, we let the form follow our mistakes: a cup becomes a bowl. "Jazz Bands" before you have practicd the scales.
Like Mark Pharis says, "You can always recycle work before the bisque. Before you bisque work, ask yourself,
'Do I want someone attributing that to me in 10,000 years?'"