Monday, June 30, 2014

Traveling Potter Part I

I've been horrible to leave you all in the dark for the last month. Needless to say, there's been a lot going on and I will try to catch you up this week. For the past 5 days I have been in New England traveling first to Upstate New York for Don Carpentier's Eastfield Village ceramic workshop (which we fondly call "Dish Camp"). Last night I arrive in Deerfield, Massachusetts and had the opportunity today to work with the students in their Summer Fellowship Program. Slowly, I have been working to try and reach out to programs and conferences for doing workshops to talk about historic pottery, demonstrate pottery making, and particularly talk about kiln furniture and historic kilns. It is really fun to start to see things coming into fruition.
Talking about kiln furniture

I first did a presentation for the students about my background, my work in museums, and my hands-on experience and approach to material culture as a potter. Then we went into a workshop space where I talked about kiln furniture, showed various pieces from my collection, and talked about how to recognize how pots were fired by marks on their surface.
Stacking pots with kiln furniture

I then did a little demonstration with stacking pots in order to show the function of kiln furniture and how the various shapes interact with one another and the vessels.
After showing the students the basics of handles and throwing a vessel on the wheel, I got them on the wheel and making handles. Prior to coming, I made mug blanks in order for them to gain experience with pulling a handle from the side of the mug.

Particularly for students studying objects in museums, I think learning the various aspects of pottery production is important. Even understanding the basics can change your approach and understanding of an object.

 Above are their final products from the afternoon, a bowl-like form, and a handled mug! And for kicks, here is my face after my attempt to join two sections resulted in the base being too wet and collapsing:
More to come, stay tuned!


Dennis Allen said...

Sounds like those kids had a wonderful day. You pitcher in the first shot is a stunner.

Liberty Stoneware said...

Thanks, Dennis! I think we all had a bit of fun. It's great to finally feel like some teaching opportunities are falling into place.