Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Learning to Throw and All That Clay Talk

I learned how to throw pots on the wheel in Illinois at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey; just a great big jump from the Mississippi River, near Alton which is across the Mississippi from St. Louis. OK, geography lesson done.

Don Scott was a graduate student at SIUE and he was also teaching at above named college.

We mixed our own clay in an old clay mixer and what a pain it was to clean. All I wanted was to learn to throw on the wheel and I think I was the last one that learned. People just taking the class for credit to graduate learned and went on and I'd look at them and wonder what was wrong with me. So, in order to get anything fired we first had to prove we could center, pull a cylinder, and make it 6" tall. Ugh. Anything else was a waste of clay according to our student instructor! Oh, I learned to make things neat and tidy around the base so that very little trimming was necessary too. I learned so many good solid skills, things I use today; he was a clay drill marshall all right. And I'm still a clay geek after all these years, I wonder if he is too...I don't know.

Don would sit down at the wheel, plunk down a 5 or 10+ pound ball of clay and make absolutely enormous, thin, beautiful vessels. This all with a cigarette dangling from his class no less. Ha, we smoked and joked and it was all great and then we became grandparents and it is even better, minus the smoking, you know! This is one of his pots I've had for so long I can't even remember back that far. I broke it during one of our many moves and that's why it look a little tired, because it is! I won't move it again, it has been a good and loyal pot to sit on my shelf so long.

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