But I feel like our instructor gives us virtually no, well, instruction! Maybe it's just me. Each class session, he usually does a quick demonstration of a technique, like creating a pinch pot or glazing a fired piece. He then does a circuit around the room, seeing where we are and asking if we have any questions. Usually, he hits our table while I'm still setting up or figuring out what I want to do, so my questions are minimal. After he finished talking to everyone - maybe an hour into a three-hour class - he settles into his own projects and works at the wheel on his own pieces. I've never had an art teacher do that before - usually, they continue to roam the room offering feedback and being generally available to the students. It's really weird.
At the end of the last class, I asked him for advice on how to store my piece, a seed pot with a pointed bottom and a curving top that was having trouble maintaining its shape - he barely looked up and just told me to prop it up and wrap the supports in paper towels to keep them from sticking. I came in this morning, and lo and behold the pot I'd been working on was deformed. Instead of having a pleasantly curving top, it was flat as a board. Le sigh. But I had to get a design scratched onto it before our critique at 10:30, so I set to work sketching an octopus onto the flat surface. The instructor did his morning rounds, but he skipped right over me! I was concentrating so hard that I didn't realize he'd left our table until I looked up and saw him on the other side of the classroom. Oh well. I finished the octopus design with little time to spare, and it was...so-so:
If I'd had more time, I would have modeled some clay to make the octopus 3-D, and possibly changed the positioning of the tentacles. But no time, no time.
There were two projects being critiqued. The first one was a set of two nesting bowls. Mine was meant to remind the viewer of a castle surrounded by a moat. The larger bowl was wide and flat, almost more of a dish, with thin walls so it would look more organic. The smaller bowl, which fit right in the middle, was a square one of medium height that would hopefully make people think of a castle tower. I designed the set so that it would actually be useful, rather than just a sculpture, and I'm thinking that it will be good for chips and salsa. It's still got to be fired and glazed, so it won't be done for a while yet.
The octopot was made by taking two pinch pot bowls and sticking together to form a sphere. The sphere was paddled into shape, and then after shaping the sphere into a pot or vase of some sort an original design had to be pressed or scratched into it.
Some people were amazingly creative with this assignment! I saw a lot of things that I now want to try to replicate on my own. (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?) But next week we are moving on to a new technique of hand-coiling the clay into a tall vase, so who knows if I'll have time to backtrack and experiment with more pinch pots.