New Thing: Take a pottery class

Each year I make a list of new things I want to try; it’s part of how I live my life on purpose. Some of these new things are exciting, many are terribly mundane.

Guys, this is the post where I shatter our collective dream that throwing pottery is exactly like that scene from Ghost.

Or perhaps more accurately, it’s not like that scene from Ghost if you’re throwing pottery and drinking wine out of paper cups with three of your girlfriends because you got a Groupon.

Prior to this Groupon adventure, I’d never set hands on a potter’s wheel, happy to stick to the roll-and-pinch techniques of third grade art class. Despite my lack of experience, after watching our teacher throw a pot in – no exaggeration – 35 seconds I was fairly convinced that
a. this would be totes easy
b. obviously, I would be a natural at it

Now, if you’ve ever tried to make something on a potter’s wheel you know that it is actually shockingly hard. Like, maybe you shouldn’t try to do it while drinking wine and chatting about Emily’s job and Laura’s classes and Meredith’s next trip. Maybe you should, you know, pay really close attention and concentrate, Sarah.

After many, many false starts, I developed a decent throwing method that paired “Shhhh don’t talk to me I’m doing this!” + staring + stopping as soon as any given pot looked okay-ish/before I could ruin it.

Really, this is a method I imagine I could apply to many, many things in my life.

After we’d all created a few fireable pieces our intrepid leader showed us how to make and attach handles and let us choose a glaze. I chose matte black in an attempt to make my pieces look more ‘Pier 1’ and less ‘Eighth Grade Art Class.’

All in all, it was a really lovely way to spend an afternoon and a great value when you consider you’re getting two hours of fun, four pottery pieces and lots of little paper cups of wine. If you’re in the Twin Cities, check it out!

Have you ever taken a pottery class? How’d it go for you? What advice would you give beginners?

P.S. The time I went to a dog show and the time I took a pole dancing class.

13 Comments

Manisha

It is hard! I took a class in college and still have some things I made, but also some salvaged from the trash. Those in the trash from other students who didn't like the glazed results, but I looked at them and realized they were much better than mine so I grabbed them and more then ten years later, they are still in my kitchen. I think wine would have made the class more fun. I may have to gather some friends and head over. Thanks for the info!

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melissa peacock

I took ceramics once in college, and while the wheel is fun, it's crazy difficult and the cleanup is almost not even worth it (a LOT of cleanup). Of all the attempts I think I walked away with two tiny bowls and a saucer. I love them, but lost a bunch of marks because they were too "heavy".

Fantastic class though.

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Anne

Hahaha, you're experience sounds a lot like mine. Only in ours, the "wine guy" was also a little too free and liberal with his pours. It was lovely, but I think eighth grade art project would have been an improvement to my "coin & keys bowl."

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Anonymous

I've been doing pottery for a few years now, and it is pretty tough in the beginning! (unless you're my husband who sat down at the wheel for the first time in his life and made four perfect, identicle mugs, a teapot and a SPHERE. Punk.) My cupboards are sagging under the weight of my mediocre creations, but I LOVE it! So therapeutic, and a great creative outlet. Stick with it, and it actually becomes enjoyable! Plus, everything looks better with ice cream in it…

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Sarah Von Bargen

Ahhhh! Don't you love/hate it when your partner is immediately good at something? A few months ago I went rollerskating with my guy who played hockey for 16 years. NEVER AGAIN.

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Heidi

I think a lot of people underestimate the amount of random forearm strength they need for throwing pottery. I used to throw a loooong time ago, and after working for a while, my arms would hurt in the strangest places the next day. I've been wanting to throw again, so this post may be an extra little bit of motivation.

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Kati Rose

I took pottery classes in middle school and loved it and for the last 6 months or so have had my heart set on the idea of trying it out again, but didn't know exactly where. I'm from the Twin Cities so you gave me the perfect option! Trying out pottery again + wine + a few good friends sounds even better than I could've imagined!

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