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.
I had to respond to this because I want to encourage you to keep going and to be kinder to yourself.
I've been working with clay for three years now, mostly slab- and hand building and it is definitely not something that I was instantly good at. What you lack in skill you can sometimes make up for in surface decoration like stamping, carving, slip trailing. Who wants a "factory-made" look? My friend always says she makes people pay extra when it's imperfect because then it's more unique.
I started seriously attempting to learn wheel throwing in October of 2014. I was so stressed out by this and so upset with myself for not succeeding instantly!! perfectly!! easily!! like all these people who have been throwing for 30 years!! What was wrong with me?
I told myself in October when my dad bought his wheel and set it up in my garage for us to use, that it didn't matter how much clay I used. It wasn't wasted because I would recycle it. It didn't matter how much time it took. This was important to me. And last but most important, I wanted it to be F U N.
Between October and Feb. 15, I used huge amounts of clay. I just could not center, which mean that in all that time and with all those tries I had one or two items that did not collapse, or break, or wobble. Nothing that was really "nice" and nothing that I could make into something functional and be proud of it. Each week I would watch several videos of different people centering different ways and I would try different things. And I repeated my pep talk to myself over and over and over because I would forget and tense up and get stressed out that I was spending all this time and wasn't MAKING anything.
In February one day I went out to throw and when I was done I had three things sitting there that had not collapsed, or ripped, or wobbled. They were my first wheel-thrown mugs. After a couple of weeks of throwing almost centered pieces I finally got the hang of centering and suddenly could make what was in my mind. I still can't quite believe it when I sit down and decide to make *this* shape and end up with *this* shape. It's slightly shocking to me and a struggle to remember that it was SO HARD. Now I'm making the things I've been dreaming of for three years.
And I know some of this is going to repeat the things the veteran potters on here have said but it's really important.
1. There is not only one right way to throw. My aunt in Kansas commented on a video about how differently I throw and posted a video of herself throwing so that I could see ... every single thing, from the way we held our hands to the way we lifted the clay and finished off the piece, was different. And yet we both throw successful pots. My dad comes over and thinks my knuckle pulls are weird, while I'm trying to figure out how he does his huge five pound bowls. (We're both learners). My best advice, and what is working for me, is to watch lots of different potters in person and on YouTube and take little bits and pieces that work for you to build your own style.
2. LET GO OF THE RESULT. The more stressed out I am, the more likely my pots are to be uneven and ugly. Tell yourself that it's a process and you're learning and improving every time you sit down whether you have finished pieces at the end or not. Your brain and muscles will learn from failed pots even if it's an intangible result at first.