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You’ve got to respect the process

(This is my last preface post about the “mental game” of pottery. Feel free to look back at previous posts to get caught up)

One of the biggest ceramic piece killers is lack of patience. The other is expecting instant perfection. One could say they go hand in hand. Ultimately, its because the potter either doesn’t know or doesn’t respect the process.

So, I’m going to lay it out for you:

First there is the prep – This includes measuring, wedging and setting up your wheel. You can read more about it here and here. This is important cause as they would say in a professional kitchen (and I know I’ve referenced this before) “Prior preparation prevents piss poor performance.”

As a production potter I’ve sometimes spent more time preparing to throw than the actual time throwing the pieces I needed to make.

Take your time and do not neglect this stage.

Second is the throwing – I like to think of this as a first draft. The point of it is just to make an approximate shape that you will refine later. It is akin to stretching and prepping canvas in painting. This is the time when a lot of potters play too much with their work. You can read more about that here.

Third we have trimming and carving – This is the part, that for me, is the most fun because it has the most artistic expressive opportunity. You finish shaping your piece and then  either add texture, paint with slips or carve designs. Its a lot of fun.

Fourth we let dry and wet scrub – Now its time to refine. You can get rid of the little annoyances, dings, bits of clay hanging around from carving. However, don’t go nuts. Remember after its been bisqued, there will still be glazing. Which brings us to…

Fifth, glazing/coloring the work – There will be a much longer post on this, but now is when we wipe it down, choose our glaze/oxides/acrylic paints/patinas and focus on the finishing aesthetics.

If you stick to the appropriate task of each step, you will have much more success than if you were to rush or obsess on the next step. Essentially, what I am telling you is mindfulness and focus on the present, through the discipline of ceramics.

When you achieve this your work will become an enjoyable living meditation.

Pretty cool right!?!

Now, stop reading and go make something!

Questions on the technique, email me at sparanoarts@gmail.com, like what I’m doing feel free to shop my Etsy store

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