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What To Concentrate On...

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I am very new to pottery (think 3rd wheel throwing class ever), and I am really enjoying myself but I feel a little lost as to what I should be concentrating on as a beginner. My instructor is very laid back and seems more interested in socializing as opposed to giving structure and benchmarks to try and achieve. I am a very goal oriented person so this grates on me a bit. Keep in mind I am 40+ with little studio time as of yet but would like to make the most out of this class before I make the decision whether or not to buy my own equipment and continue pottering on my own.

 

I am an avid reader and watcher of videos so I have been soaking up as much info as I can. I feel comfortable wedging and centering the clay so far. Pulling walls is starting to come to me but do I work on height? Do I work on thinner walls? Do I work on repeating forms? I know there is likely not a perfect answer here but I would like to hear your opinions on the direction you would like to see your motivated students go in. Thanks

 

Kevin

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People highly praise John Baymore's throwing exercises.  Perhaps he can post them.

 

I am a very goal oriented person.

I am an avid reader and watcher of videos so I have been soaking up as much info as I can. I feel comfortable wedging and centering the clay so far. Pulling walls is starting to come to me but do I work on height? Do I work on thinner walls? Do I work on repeating forms? I know there is likely not a perfect answer here but I would like to hear your opinions on the direction you would like to see your motivated students go in. Thanks

Kevin

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Thanks for the kind words, Norm. 

 

Kevin,  PM me your e mail address and I'll send a copy, if you'd like.

 

Remember... these exrecise are intrended to be a PART of the work I do with people in degtree granting college level classes.  Whiel they are useful..... there are many, many, many aspects that I cover in classes and other handouts that are all part of an overall "package".

 

Kevin, if you are enrolled in a "community education" type class...... many partcipants of that kind of class are not interested in "high content", they are there for a de-stressing and relaxing environment.  SO make sure to let your instructor know what YOUR goals are for the class.  He/she may be assuming somethiong else if you don't communicate that stuff.

 

best,

 

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

 

best,

 

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

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Kevin, at this early point I wouldn't worry so much about height or thin walls.  Work first on getting nice, even walls.  Then, as you begin to develop some height, the walls will also get thinner.  If you're comfortable centering after 3 classes...Bravo!

I agree with John, don't be afraid to let the instructor know what you want out of the class.  Also, if there are choices in your area, try to find a studio/instructor that more suits your needs.  Maybe there's a local potter out there somewhere who will help you.

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There are a lot of good (and, unfortunately, a lot of not so good) videos on Youtube and elsewhere that show basic forms and techniques. Here is a link to Bill van Gilder's web site and selection of videos . . . many are from his DIY show that ran several years back. I've always found Bill to be a good teacher and explainer.

 

http://www.vangilderpottery.com/#!videos/c1g7i

 

He also has a book based on his DIY series that is a pretty good step-by-step to his projects, with lots of photos that show what he is explaining.

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Cylinders, cylinders and cylinders.

 

After a while you may call the handle less mugs, small ones yunomi, really small one guinomi,

 

The often become test tiles/ cylinders.

 

Reclaim many keep few. ( I just realized my reclaim bucket is heavier than my clay bucket)

 

Make your zen practice throwing cylinders.

 

If I learned really learned, embraced the cylinder earlier, (not just just a few months ago) my work today would be light years ahead

 

Wait did I say cylinders.....

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Thank you all for your responses. I live in the middle do nowhere in Northern Michigan so my choices of classes is severely limited. The class is being given by a private company that offers all sorts of 'artsy' classes from ukulele to child drawing classes.

 

I will mention to the teacher my goals.

 

@ john - thanks for the worksheet (I got that from you around a month ago) it does seem a daunting task but will start working on it while I have the studio time.

 

@ biglou - I think if I follow John's worksheet I will get LOTS of practice with cylinders.

 

Cheers

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  You can do it, I went back to college when I was 44.  At the time I had a 15 year old son, ran a decorating buisness  and helped take care of three parents that were terminally ill.  Fortunately with my buisness I could manipulate the schedule, can you use the facility any time it's open or are you limited to class time. Since I worked mostly evenings I would show up at 7.00 A. M. when they unlocked the doors.  Talk to the the teacher and see what you can do to get more studio time, make sure that you mention that you'll clean up.   Denice 

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 PM me your e mail address and I'll send a copy, if you'd like.

 

 

best,

 

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

 

Hi John, just tried to send you a PM, but got the response, "cannot receive any more messages".  Could you please send me a copy of your throwing exercises:  ann dot chil at yahoo dot co dot uk.  Many thanks

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You can do it, I went back to college when I was 44.  At the time I had a 15 year old son, ran a decorating buisness  and helped take care of three parents that were terminally ill.  Fortunately with my buisness I could manipulate the schedule, can you use the facility any time it's open or are you limited to class time. Since I worked mostly evenings I would show up at 7.00 A. M. when they unlocked the doors.  Talk to the the teacher and see what you can do to get more studio time, make sure that you mention that you'll clean up.   Denice

 

Unfortunately the studio is about 1 hour from my house.. I do ensure to make the most out of my one day ( 7am - 1:30). This is why I am considering quickly purchasing equipment... That drive is a killer... Especially in the winter (130+ in of snow so far this winter).

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The way I taught myself was by throwing many many cylinders like other people have mentioned. Luckily I tailored my final college project so I could do this and get a nice grade to go with it.

 

Other than that I would just keep using the same weight of clay. This helps you understand what you can get from clay and how far it can be pushed.

 

I spent 7 months just throwing 500 grams of clay until I could nearly produce the same shape every time. Then I moved onto bigger amounts. I still rarely go over 2kg because it always ends in disaster or me getting annoyed.

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I spent 7 months just throwing 500 grams of clay until I could nearly produce the same shape ever time. Then I moved onto bigger amounts.

 

 

This is one VERY important aspect of how to gain excellent core throwing skills.  (We are kinda' into Malclom Gladwell's '10,000 hours' concept here.)

 

best,

 

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

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(We are kinda' into Malclom Gladwell's '10,000 hours' concept here.)

10,000 hours X pots made per hour = a whole lot of clay :)

 

Get your wheel, you'll never regret it!! Time on the wheel will see you streak ahead.

I will minimum need to wait for the weather to warm up a bit before I even start thinking about setting up my own pottery. If the last couple of months are any indication winter should be over in 2 or 3 more months.

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