On Tuesday, I had my first Introduction to Ceramics class. I was excited, but now I have sort of mixed feelings.
Let me start at the beginning:
We had to go to the campus bookstore to buy the enormous block of specially mixed clay (it takes longer to dry). It only weighed about 25 pounds, but it was enough to make me struggle. I walked over to the store with this giant military guy who took the class because he thought it would be easy, which is fine; no big deal. Embarrassed, I tried so hard to be a tough guy and lift the clay sort of nonchalantly. I couldn't. I ended pushing the big block of clay across the floor with my foot, like a really heavy soccer ball. Giant military guy did the same thing, he probably felt bad for me.
I struggled with the block as I bought a bottle of soy milk and an apple in the cafeteria. after putting my lil' snack into my backpack I carefully carried my block of clay with both hands back to class. Exhausted, I dropped it onto the table as soon as I walked in the door to the ceramics room. I was already defeated.
Our first project was to make a very simple pinch pot. For those of you not familiar, a pinch pot is made by rolling clay into a ball and pinching it into the shape of a vessel using your thumb and forefinger. Seems pretty simple, right?
I tried FIVE times, before I had a pot that I hadn't stuck my thumbnail through and it still looked pretty sad. (It's actually the picture on the right if you want to see). I look across the room and GMG (Giant Military Guy) has the best looking pinch pot in the room. Seriously, this thing looked like it was store bought. Now, when we first started class, I assumed this guy was going to be awful; he'd probably drop the class because it's lame or something. He's not an "art guy".
I studied his technique, and the sixth pot I made was actually acceptable.
I actually learned two lessons this week; people aren't as one-dimensional as I think they are and it's really effing hard to make a clay pot.