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  1. My mother was an at home mother who sewed both for family and for sale and had a sewing room where things were always in progress. She also drew fashion sketches as part of that work. It was important to her that we be artistic- that girls should be artistic. As inspiration she was full of stories of her artistic endeavors in youth, things like that when her friends at school were coloring, she was painting on silk. I am guessing some- but few- of these stories were true. There is no question, though, where and when I fell in love with clay in particular, though I haven't pursued it until recently. Mrs. Werner, my kindergarten teacher. had us on a rotation in which each day a third of us painted (tempera, on easels in the kindergarten patio), a third played with big wooden blocks indoors, and a third made things of clay. There was an enormous tub of wet clay. My haven. I still remember what I made in kindergarten, figures with a basic blob-shaped body, two with a blue matte sort of paint and brown hair, and one with a cherry glaze and black hair, plus one really fat crawling baby with a top knot in a translucent greenish glaze that I have today in my dining room. I loved the feel of the clay in my hands and that one could manipulate the clay to make a form. I particularly liked heavy, roundish objects. Despite my mother's personal interest in art or craft, aspirations for me and my sister were very much academic. So other than taking art electives in school, my direction was very academic, involving imagination of a mental rather than physical sort. It was almost impossible to get into a studio art class in college unless one was in the department, which I wasn't. My professional path, then, had nothing to do with art- had no physical character. About ten years ago I became involved in creativity studies and physical making, exploring what sort of making I wanted to be doing. I started with two dimensional forms, simply because these requires little space, no kilns, ... But my aesthetic interest, both to do and to see, has always been 3D. Over many years of attending crafts fairs I have gathered a little collection of the kind of clay work I love, functional and not, and decided around a year ago to get started in clay, alongside the other things that I do. About two months ago my husband cleared me a space in the basement so that I can work on clay without interfering with whatever is going on in the kitchen.
  2. First up, success is living from the heart, always. Second, its raising creative, productive kids who love their mama. Third it is continuing to learn in a number of areas, which is particularly meaningful to me as my mother had Alzheimers. In terms of clay success is improving in my ability to make the things I have in my head. This includes finding clays that feel right in my hands, glazes I like as well (neither glaring my eyes out nor sickly-looking), being able to control better the shape I get off the wheel or even in hand-building, and very much liking the mug I drink from or my favorite plate, both by my hand. In pottery I am a beginner, so it is all about growth. As a teacher, my vocation, it is about the atmosphere of energetic engagement and trust in my classroom every day and my part in making it work effectively for each student.
  3. Carving into clay

    Thank you, Yappy. I can catch my clay at leather hard and have an array of possible tools at hand. I found a book on relief carving in wood. I am thinking I might draw first on separate paper what I mean to carve and color code levels of depth like people seem to do in wood carving. And a used copy of the book oldlady recommended to me is winding its way to me from a distant used bookstore. I had hoped to get started on some tiles for experimenting, but my husband stained something wooden in his part of the basement, and I have to wait until the air no longer smells of wood stain down there.
  4. There is a very good youtube on this subject put up by EvolutionStoneware. It is called Pottery Ergonomics.
  5. What's your Mug?

    My current mug of choice holds about 20 oz, red stoneware without handles, glazed in tourmaline, blue, and purple, an impression of waves covering the whole exterior. It is heavy and more or less cylindrical, but slightly irregular in shape. It is something of a self-portrait.
  6. Carving into clay

    Thank you, Preeta. I have just been reading one called Making Marks, which is about every aspect of treating the surface. On the weekend I will have a go at some tiles.
  7. Carving into clay

    Thank you, Babs. I will follow both your leads.
  8. Carving into clay

    Hi, Babs. I wasn't talking about adding clay. I was thinking of carving into the surface.
  9. Carving into clay

    Thank you Neil, oldlady, and synj00. I do have tools. I was hoping for something on the order of the instructions one can find readily for relief carving in wood so that what one carves in is not just the equivalent of a line drawing with the lines dug in rather than drawn on. I will start by looking for the book by Charles Counts. Thanks, everyone.
  10. I am new to clay, both hand-building and throwing, and have been making images on pots in two ways- by painting in underglaze and by using commercially available texture mats and roller stamps. I would like to learn to carve into the clay myself. Can anyone recommend some good resource or resources to help me learn to do this? I would be particularly happy for book recommendations.

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