Last night I started a 14-week Beginner's Wheel Throwing class.
This was another one of my impulsive moves I am known to make from time to time. G-sauce threw out an e-mail to a bunch to people to see if anyone was interested in taking this class with her. At the time I had one of those impulsive thoughts, the kind that get me into pickles. But then another came, I was not in a financial position to do it (wait...what? That means I actually stopped myself from doing something impulsive!)
Don't worry - it didn't last long. I responded to G and told her that I couldn't at that time, but to let me know anything else she might do later. She responded that if no one wanted to do it then (this was in the summer) that she would sign up for the fall. "Count me in." ...eek, I did it again.
I kept waiting for G to say, "never mind", but that never happened. She e-mailed me a few weeks before to make sure I was doing it, "of course!" how dare she think I wouldn't?! But secretly I was like, "I can't really afford this right now - money or time wise". Then last week she said she was registering. So I freaked out a little, what if I pay all this money, commit to this time, and I SUCK at it!? G slapped me across the face and told me I would be fine (okay, okay, she didn't slap me - she responded to my text message with a laugh and a "you'll be fine").
So last night I learned how to "wedge" the clay (p.s. the clay stinks...like nature). When I was watching the instructor it looked a lot like kneading bread - I've done that before so it seemed easy enough. Guess what? It's not exactly like kneading bread - cause you are trying to make a cone shape. She had us "wedge" two blocks of clay and then she said we could just shape the other two into cones. Wedging was easier than shaping - plus - I'm a closet perfectionist and wanted to get this down. I think I mostly had it by block 4. And by that I mean - it looked a heck of a lot better than block 1.
Then it was to the wheel! Eek! I set up my wheel with the splash guard thingy and I grabbed a bat and placed it on the wheel (a bat is like a tray that fits on the wheel and then you place the clay on it). I got my bucket of water and made sure I had my rib (wooden tool), pokey thing (can't remember the name), and sponge.
I wanted to make sure my clay was on there securely so with a loud SPLAT I thrust mine on to the bat. Then I dipped my hands in the water and stared at the clay for a while. I was trying to remember what we were supposed to do first. So I rewet my hands and pushed my foot down on the peddle and tried to smooth out my clay. The instructor went around to each of us to help and we were supposed to make cylinders. My first one was a cylinder - but I also had a lot of help from the teacher. My second one was a bowl - which we weren't doing bowls last night but the instructor said I could keep it, so I finished it up and put it on the table for the next step.
My third one...oh my third one. I mostly practiced center the clay with my third one (I had to do that with all of them but I wanted to get that part down - it's when you are spinning the wheel and getting all the bumps out of the clay - you make it tall, then you bring it back down and then you spin and spin and spin* until it feels smooth as it spins against your hands - no bumps or anything.
But I thought I would try for a cylinder again. The instructor helped me a little and then I got to work on opening up the clay (creating the hole in the middle). She came over and was like, "It looks like a..." and I know she wanted to say cylinder but I also knew she couldn't lie, "bowl." she finished with a sad little smile. Then she went on about how it naturally wants to be a bowl and I said, "if it wants to be a bowl who am I to say it can't be?"
G-sauce had the cylinder down. I told her that was great - but when we get to bowls I'm going to rock it.
I'm actually pretty excited to go back next week - and I might even try to slip in this weekend to get more practice with centering and making a cylinder...we'll see. (Tami - I will try to get pictures - just seemed a little ridiculous to try and get some last night, being the first day of class and all).