I joined Artist in Residence, Ruth Langwieser, at the Estevan Art Gallery & Museum to learn about pottery and learn it is much harder than I thought!
We began by preparing the clay, kneading it like you would dough, ensuring there are no air pockets. Next, we cut that dough in half. I didn’t realize the little amount of clay used! We starting spinning the wheel. I learned that a technique of excellent potters uses lots of water. The clay will catch on your hands if you do not have enough water. Ruth showed me how to raise and lower the clay and get it centred. If the clay is not centred it will be a wobbly mess.
With little effort, Ruth made a pitcher. It was my turn next! Ruth made it look so easy, and I felt that I could create a beautiful bowl. Following Ruth’s instructions and with a lot of hands-on help, I created a tiny bowl. I mean really tiny—like ‘eat ten cheerios in it kind of bowl. I had to cut the top half off because I didn’t have enough water, but alas I had my creation, and I exclaimed “I’m a potter, Harry!”. Ruth then took the lead again and showed me how to make lids for our pitcher and bowl. I tried my hand at the wheel again and created a pitcher of my own; it looked nothing like Ruth’s.
Our projects had to dry before we could glue on the handles.
A week later, I returned to the Estevan Art Gallery & Museum to finish my project. She did all the tricky parts, shaping it and making sure it had a flat base and that it was as “aesthetically” pleasing as can be. I glued the handle on the pitcher and a knob on the lid of the bowl.
Ruth will complete the pottery by putting it in the kiln and glazing it; we couldn’t do that part because it needs to dry. She said she would let me know when I can collect my projects. I can’t wait to share the finished picture and give them to my mom for her to show off to all her friends! Just like grade two, but I’m pretty sure I did better this time.
If you are interested in trying your hand at pottery, the Estevan Arts Council is hosting an “Introduction to Pottery Class” on Saturday, November 2nd, from 1:00-5:00 pm.
Have fun #ExperiencingEstevan!