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Ren

Just a New Guy

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I thought I'd say hi and introduce myself. My friends call em Ren, and after a week of trying to get registered, I'm finally on (thanks to whichever admin is responsible after I had to go the creepy backdoor/Facebook route to contact someone). I'm pretty green to pottery. Always fascinated with the idea of starting, but never actually pulled the trigger until last month, when I finally dove in and got a pottery wheel (a barely used 10 year old Pacifica GT-400), and I've got to say, I wish I did this earlier as I'm in love with it. I'm a husband and father of two girls who are 9 and 3, and we live in Vancouver, and I work in Portland, OR. I am going to school for my BS in Photography (you can view some of my work, although severely outdated, as I haven't uploaded anything new in almost a year, at: http://www.studio4115.com )

 

This seems like a community of pretty established ceramic folk, so hopefully you don't mind a newbie around.

 

Also, unfortunately, I can't afford pottery classes at the moment, so I have to self teach from youtube videos and books. Is it possible to get pretty decent doing it this way? I plan to go to classes later on, but the cost of classes is pretty prohibitive at the moment.

 

Usually one can find a major message board for every topic under the sun, but for some reason, I can't find anything (that is larger than a small group of people) for ceramics/pottery. Is there another message board out there, that I missed? No insult to this one at all, as I've noticed there are a ton of very knowledgeable people here, and a wealth of old info to sift through, but I was just wondering as I just thought it odd, that I can't find a major forum/community/message board on this topic. I heard claystation.com was one, but they seem to have been hacked and are still recovering from it.

 

Anyway, I'm sorry...I seem to be rambling now. Pleasure to meet you all, and I look forward to learning from you.

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I thought I'd say hi and introduce myself. My friends call em Ren, and after a week of trying to get registered, I'm finally on (thanks to whichever admin is responsible after I had to go the creepy backdoor/Facebook route to contact someone). I'm pretty green to pottery. Always fascinated with the idea of starting, but never actually pulled the trigger until last month, when I finally dove in and got a pottery wheel (a barely used 10 year old Pacifica GT-400), and I've got to say, I wish I did this earlier as I'm in love with it. I'm a husband and father of two girls who are 9 and 3, and we live in Vancouver, and I work in Portland, OR. I am going to school for my BS in Photography (you can view some of my work, although severely outdated, as I haven't uploaded anything new in almost a year, at: http://www.studio4115.com )

 

This seems like a community of pretty established ceramic folk, so hopefully you don't mind a newbie around.

 

Also, unfortunately, I can't afford pottery classes at the moment, so I have to self teach from youtube videos and books. Is it possible to get pretty decent doing it this way? I plan to go to classes later on, but the cost of classes is pretty prohibitive at the moment.

 

Usually one can find a major message board for every topic under the sun, but for some reason, I can't find anything (that is larger than a small group of people) for ceramics/pottery. Is there another message board out there, that I missed? No insult to this one at all, as I've noticed there are a ton of very knowledgeable people here, and a wealth of old info to sift through, but I was just wondering as I just thought it odd, that I can't find a major forum/community/message board on this topic. I heard claystation.com was one, but they seem to have been hacked and are still recovering from it.

 

Anyway, I'm sorry...I seem to be rambling now. Pleasure to meet you all, and I look forward to learning from you.

 

 

I have been doing pottery for the last 35 years, and the only way to start, is to start! We had no money then, and I just got every book out of the library, over and over again, and taught myself. My first wheel was made by my farmer husband, out of an old tractor differential. (Not too successful, as we didnt realise it had to spin the opposite way), but wheel no2 was made out of an old spindle type washing machine. I still have it, for sentimental reasons. Keep going..your enthusiam will get you far.

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Thanks for the encouragement...I really appreciate it. Yes, I figured i would stop standing on the wall and just dive in, and it helped justifying the purchase of the wheel, because it's something the whole family can (and has) enjoy. The Youtube videos help a lot, and the books I've gotten are filled with examples, but as someone who also understands the fine details of being taught face to face and in person (from martial arts, and music), I can appreciate the fact, that maybe I'm missing out on some of the finer points that might only come with a student/teacher dynamic. But for now, I'm having a blast just making stuff.

 

I always laugh, because my efforts seem to always end in the same way. I have a vision/idea of what I want to make...I accomplish it, then my OCD overworks it trying to make it perfect, then it flops...Then i take what remains and "settle" on making something else LOL. For instance, the other day I was trying for a sake bottle, came out with a decent one. Spent so much time trying to get it just right, that it flopped, and I just had to take what remained and make it into a vase.

 

I typically love things that utilize both sides of my brain: art and science. That's why I love photography, and why I apprenticed as a winemaker, and why I love cooking and other activities of the same type. And it's quite dangerous that I see that in Pottery (art in creation, and science in the details, especially in the glaze, that I haven't even touched on yet...I've been cranking out pieces that haven't even been fired yet), because if I make that connection, I will become obssessed with it, until I become profficient.

 

But in the end, it's been such a blast.

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Welcome!

One idea might be to find an established potter in your area and trade photography for lessons.

 

 

Chris has a great idea, especially if you are decent with still product photography. A lot of potters do not know enough about F stops and depth of field or lighting angles to take decent photos of their work whether film or digital. They would probably love to have a trade for lessons.

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Hi Ren. I don't know about everyone else, but I'm pretty much self-taught. It can be done. But, to me, the essential thing is seeing that something can be done. Go to potteries. Look at the artist's simpler work, try to reproduce it.

 

Throwing can only be experienced in the end, imho. The other stuff though can be found in good books. I think that a great first book is Roy's and Hesselberth's, "Mastering Cone 6 Glazes." There is a lot of great information in that. If you are technical minded it is a great idea to have Hammers dictionary around. I think you can get it on Barnes & Noble from much less than you can on Amazon.

 

When I started I had a quote/maxim from Ken Ferguson (paraphrased): First learn technique, then form, then the kiln/glazes, then surface. It serves me well every day I throw pots.

 

Also, Simon Leech has some very good YouTube videos for free. And note: Not all YouTube videos are constructive. Some are examples of how not to do a thing : )

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Hey all, thanks for the warm welcome, and helpful advice. I never really thought about the trade in services. Great idea! I'll look into it.

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Hey all, thanks for the warm welcome, and helpful advice. I never really thought about the trade in services. Great idea! I'll look into it.

 

 

Hi, Ren,

Welcome. This is such a nice forum. I'm pretty new to here, too, but people have

been so warm. And helpful!

You might check out whether your local colleges have any community craft center

type programs. Sometimes that can be a way to get inexpensive lessons, or to

get your work fired. Renting kiln or studio time is usually expensive otherwise.

And your photography skills might also come in handy as in trading lessons with

someone, another student, even if they didn't want pictures or their pottery or children :-).

-Lily

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Welcome!

 

What about going to area art and craft shows? ften there will be a potter at these things demo-ing for the public. Watching someone else can be very helpful.

 

I also agree about trading photos for lessons. I would do that in a snap.

 

There is much on youtube, trash and great teaching. If you are interested, I will send you titles of some that I refer my students to that I feel are the best instruction.

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Ren,

Just wanted to say hi, and welcome. I have asked many questions on all sorts of topics and

always get so many helpful responses. Yes, this is a great board, very knowledgeable and helpful.

juli

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Guest JBaymore

Welcome aboard, Ren. Hope you hang around a while both with clay and with the CAD forums.

 

best,

 

.....................john

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Hi Ren, I live just across the river in Gresham, Or.. I'm a retired teacher, who has just set up my studio again after being at work. I was in college classes in 1968 at San Jose State, and fell in love with clay the last year there. So my husband bought me a wheel for a wedding gift and I have been muddy ever since. Most of what I know I taught myself, and then was fortunate enough to start my own program at a school for 15 years, so was able to teach clay to students there. I find that the experience that I gave myself in self teaching was my edge; I'm so glad to have had that time. I'd be glad tohelp with whatever I know; but beaware that even in a lifetime, clay has so many facets that I don't think it can be conquored , it just has to become a part of you. Good luck and mostly, just enjoy yourself! Lynn

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Hi Ren, I live just across the river in Gresham, Or.. I'm a retired teacher, who has just set up my studio again after being at work. I was in college classes in 1968 at San Jose State, and fell in love with clay the last year there. So my husband bought me a wheel for a wedding gift and I have been muddy ever since. Most of what I know I taught myself, and then was fortunate enough to start my own program at a school for 15 years, so was able to teach clay to students there. I find that the experience that I gave myself in self teaching was my edge; I'm so glad to have had that time. I'd be glad tohelp with whatever I know; but beaware that even in a lifetime, clay has so many facets that I don't think it can be conquored , it just has to become a part of you. Good luck and mostly, just enjoy yourself! Lynn

 

 

 

Thank you so much, and it's great to know there's someone close. There is so much information that at times it seems overwhelming, that's why I'm taking things a step at a time. Right now I'm concentrating on turning, and getting the basics right, then I'll tackle things as I need to. Glazing, and firing seem so intimidating to me that I don't even want to read or look at that stuff right now. It's already getting into my blood. I know the feeling well from diving head first in many things throughout my life that capture my imagination. I tend to wake up early in the morning just so I can throw some clay before the family gets up, for some solo time. Because when the kids are up they are in there with me bugging me for wheel time LOL.

 

 

It's actually folded into other facets of my life quite well, too. I'm a practicing Buddhist, so I love anything that I can get lost in meditative movement with. And clay is the perfect exercise in meditative moving. I can use it as an exercise to be mindful about every little thing I do, and engross myself (mind, body, and consciousness) totally into this one thing.

 

 

It really is quite amazing in so many different ways.

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