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Everything posted by Newtoclay54**

  1. I am an MD. When I was in medical school and residency, we always were taught several ways to approach a problem. One never knew what one would find and a it was essential to have a good knowledge of several techniques. My teacher disappointed me when she threw up her hands and said, "I just can't help you,".
  2. I have finished my 10 weeks of 'beginner's' classes and Gary has graciously added me to the Wednesday night class, which is for more advanced students. There is a waiting list for his classes, so I was thrilled he was able to sneak me in. I have so many ideas swirling in my head. I'm VERY excited and have learned (somewhat) that I have to let go of the 'perfect' piece and just move along. This idea has been a BIG problem for me in many types of media.
  3. You were right. I must have "missed " the glazing portion because I was pretty much left on my own. But I had fun experimenting!
  4. I was taking the class as a required course for a FA degree, but I was really just for fun. So I didn't have to worry about grades. So a C was very acceptable due to have learned the class material on my own!!!
  5. I thank you all, again, for your kind words of encouragement. They kept me going when the going was tough. My instructor must have thought I knew everything about glazes, or I missed those instructions, too. I just experimented and played. Interestingly enough, I was told by the instructor several times that "I couldn't do that", when the process worked out fine. Thankfully, the class is over. But I continue to take classes at the pottery center and have learner a great deal. I have found I really enjoy ceramics, despite my awful introduction. Here are a few of my finished pieces for the class. I still received a 'C'.
  6. My semester is almost over.....but I find that I actually LIKE ceramics after all! At one point I was ready to drop the class. I am now set up to take a 3 hour class every Thursday morning for 10 weeks at the pottery that allowed me to rent their wheel. The class has only 5 people, so I am guaranteed to get some good advice and assistance. It will be taught by the same man that helped me so much to move through that block. My teacher at the college was not happy I sought outside help, but I learned what I was supposed to, and I am so grateful for Gary's help. I am also so grateful for the support I received here...it also helped move me through that block. I will post my 'new and improved' pieces here so, if you want to remember those good ole days at the beginning of your career, just follow my progress!
  7. I want to thank all of you for your kind words of encouragement. I did persevere and I am very pleased with my results. I did go outside my class to learn more tips and tricks on throwing and did A LOT of reading on my own. Monday we glaze...so i have been studying up for that. But a few photos of my work: Thank you all for your help....your words kept me going when I was ready to quit.
  8. When I was at the pottery yesterday, something happened that I had hoped would happen...the owner just couldn't help himself and came to watch me since I was the only one there. He gave me many tips and watch my attempts each time. One of the most important observations he gave me while watching me is that I have slender hands and long fingers and thumb. I dig in because i can't get my hands on the clay unless I bend my fingers too much and I pinch too hard. He helped me learn how to use my long fingers and thumb to work to my advantage. I plan to spend several hours there today if my back can take it!
  9. Thank you all. So far I've only thrown these 3 pieces. And I plan on going to the pottery today...after I check out some videos.
  10. Thank you all SO much. You have given me great tips......and helped me to dispel that "I'll never be able to do it right" feeling. It is intimidating to be around students who can produce nice pieces when I am 30 years older and can't get my pinch pot 'right'. You have all helped me realize there are many definitions of 'right'. Describing YEARS of practice vs 3 weeks also helps me keep this situation in perspective. I LIKE working with clay and have an unfortunate tendency to want to make perfect works the first time around. The practice this week will be a great start to getting extra hours in. When I was painting with oils, I watched as many YouTube videos as I could find. I don't know why that didn't occur to me now. But I have a couple hours today I can devote to watching and will head back to the pottery tomorrow with more experience...even if it is vicarious. As for my teacher....I do think she is mystified because she does not have several ways to throw tucked in her belt. She probably CAN'T help me...so, I'll have to help myself!!! I will post some of my attempts for you all to chuckle over!!!! :-P
  11. I am a 55 year-old who is taking Fine Arts classes at the local community college. I have worked through Drawing, Painting, 2-D, and 3-D classes. I have been told by my instructors I have a modest talent. This semester I took a Methods and Materials class, which is basically Ceramics -100. The teacher has 4 classes going on at one time in one room: Ceramics, 1,2, and Studio. AND my class, which consists of me. I am supposed to complete the same projects as the other classes. They are all 3 hours long, 3 times/week. My class is 2 hours, 2X/week. I was very excited to work with clay. Then the excitement waned. My pinch pots were uneven. My coiled pots too tight. My englobed slab-roller box had sides that caved in and cracks at the joints. My projects looked like Kindergarten pieces compared to the other's....20 year-old students. Ah, now to start throwing on the wheel! Centering is not that bad! I can tell when I'm off and it's right. I am very pleased. Finally! Something done right. Making a cylinder. I can't seem to use my knuckle to pull the clay upward. I get a thin base which breaks off almost every time. I try time and time again. The teacher spends about 10 minutes with me each class. When I can't pull the clay up for my cylinder, she becomes very exasperated. I find that if I use my fingertips, I do better feeling the clay. I make a couple of nice bowls, but no cylinder. She sits down next to me and we center, open...she is using her knuckle and I am using my fingertips. I still can't get higher than about 4 inches. My base is too thin and the piece shears off. I ask her what I am doing wrong, and she tells me she doesn't know and can't help me because I don't use her technique. It's Spring Break. I found a Pottery that will rent me a wheel. I spend three hours practicing, still with minimal success. The owner comes by and gives me advice and some pointers. I pull a 7 inch cylinder, wobbly, but still recognizable. I am elated! I plan to spend as many hours as I can to get to a comfort zone with clay and pull the cylinders. The ottery will Bisque fire my pieces, too. My teacher mentioned Glazes come next. I am bewildered. I have *4* books I purchased from Amazon, all of which are not helpful. I'm sorry for the lengthy intro. My questions: Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong trying to pull up a piece with my fingertips? I try not to dig in my fingers, but I still get that too-thin base that spins off. How wet is too wet, and how dry is too dry? Glazes..does anyone know a book/DVD/You tube explanation so I can know what I am supposed to do?
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