Monday, January 11, 2010

Back at the wheel

I'm teaching a "Continuing Wheel" class at the local pottery studio: seven Mondays, three hours per class. All of my students this time are new to me (though not to the studio), and they're a friendly, enthusiastic bunch.

Not much has changed at Claymakers in the past seven months. They've installed new faucets on the sinks (notice the thrill-inducing plural, sinks; the pottery studio I found in Freiburg had but one), become more confident about ditching ancient unclaimed bisque and greenware, and revised the studio guidelines to increase the emphasis on safety and dust control. Healthy potters are happy potters.

To my surprise, my long absence from clay (discounting a brief fling with a flock of German chickens) has made me a proselytizer for the minimal-water school of throwing, and my pedagogy has become all about physics, physics, physics. Friction! torque! pressure! counterpressure! centrifugal force! Analyze, analyze, analyze! You can do it! Rah, rah, go team! I was a little surprised by my zealousness. The students may have been surprised too, but everyone ended up with a few good cylinders by the end of the evening.

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