On the topic of the forum itself, Clayart has announced the opening of their forum with the bold statement: "this forum will jump us into first place in the world of
clay education and communication."
CAD and the CAD forum have been doing a first rate job at clay education and communication for a long time and I have always especially appreciated the lack of snarky, snide, argumentative, etc. interactions in the forum. I'm taking a wait and see attitude on Clayart.
"You can lie, cheat, and steal to get the pot you want" and "Step away from that pot"...which is another version of "don't love it to death".
I have to disagree with saying that if you don't like it when you make it it won't get any better. When I don't like a pot coming out of the kiln because it doesn't meet my expectations(doesn't look like I wanted it to, I can sometimes wait awhile (months), then look at it again. Once my expectations are gone, I can see the pot for who it is, not for who I wanted it to be, and sometimes I find I like it after all!
I was thinking along the same lines, John Baymore. Gee, Brad, you're coming to a bunch of addicted people looking for encouragement. Well, yeah, GO FOR IT.
Seriously, though, I am of the very firm belief that hobbies and interests CAN be kept to a manageable level if that's what you want to do. You do not need to invest in a bunch of expensive equipment to make pottery. In fact, it's better if you don't buy a bunch of stuff right away. Take classes as you have time and money and give yourself plenty of time to decide which path you want to take. It's not a quick trip, it's a long journey.
That really is a lovely glaze Ray, and yes, I would buy the mug and wouldn't expect it to be discounted as a second. In fact, I would feel like it's a really special piece because the potter had to put extra time into completion.
25 yr break here, and I, too, was pretty good back in the day. I was only slightly better than your average beginner when I came back to it, a big disappointment at the time, but it has been a really great journey to slowly get my skills back and go beyond where I was in college.
One thing that was helpful to me, was to realize that I was trying to throw with whatever clay was available. It worked better if I used clay that was slightly on the soft side, not those hard lumps. And, as others have said, don't concentrate on producing a product. Right now, you just need to work on building those skills back up. So you shouldn't be trying to save everything.
I tend to be a very upbeat person...especially now that I have retired! I've enjoyed reading this thread. /but I was having trouble thinking of something that really discourages me until I read Chris's comment about lack of craftmanship. I see people making very sloppy work with little attention to detail, finishing, craftmanship, call it whatever. Best example is turning over a pot and seeing a rough, ugly, uneven bottom. Or thick throwing bumps in a bowl. And people are buying this stuff. Arrrggghhhh. Makes me crazy.
Your description of the ceramics teacher at the school makes my gut clench. I wish she would find some other way to earn a living. I teach beginners wheel, and feel strongly that everyone needs to find the techniques that work for them. I show the way I do something and then show some alternatives and encourage students to try them and eventually find their way. I also encourage everyone to take classes from as many different teachers as possible because everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and something different to offer. I really started to grow as a potter when I moved away from the techniques that my one teacher of several years insisted were the right way and only way. I started watching utube and found other classes in different venues.
One route to learning that was helpful to me was to consiously tackle one aspect of throwing at a time, no matter what type of piece I was making. For instance, I worked on "tall" for a while, then "narrow necked", then "shoulders", etc. It was easier for me than trying to improve everything at once, although, the more you throw, the more every part of your process will improve.
Get your own wheel as soon as you can if you intend to continue.
Coming a little late to this topic as I only just noticed that the pc section is about more than just council business. About the only thing I don't get out of the forum is ease of searching. The search function for some reason has never been very helpful to me.
Everyone has pretty much said everything already...so of course I'm going to say more... : -)
COMMUNITY!!! Non-judgemental. Supportive.
Every once in a while someone new comes on the forum and asks a really broad, not very well thought out question. I roll my eyes and think..."Go to the library!" And then, invariably, within a short period of time, at least a couple of members answer with thoughtful, encouraging posts and I am humbled once again by the generousity of this group of people.
There was a tip on this forum, I believe, recently about achieving very exact lettering. I tried it and thought it was very easy and gave beautiful lettering. Brush some wax resist on the area you want to write on on leatherhard ware. Then carve or incise the letters into the clay through the resist. Then you brush underglaze on and it literally flows into the lettering. I used a sponge only a little bit for minimal clean up. Bisque fire, then use a translucent glaze so the lettering shows through. I loved it.