Category: throwing

Pottery Wheel Burn Out – Finding Inspiration Again

“I wanted to reach out to ask you all a question. But have any of you ever had extended periods where even the thought of throwing seemed like a chore, so you just don’t throw? I have only thrown twice since last September…”  T. Cooke
~ Hobby Potter Life Group Member

I’m so glad you shared this question with the group! I was going to share my answer directly with you in the group feed,  but believe there are so many people who have experienced or are experiencing this same dilemma. 

First, you are not alone in seeking space from the wheel.  In my own experience, I began throwing with a strong desire to just learn and grow on the pottery wheel, not handbuilding. So I started the 365 Days of Clay Cups project to do just that.  On my 10th anniversary, I did the whole 365 Cup process a 2nd time in 12 videos but condensed it into a little over 30 days. That event helped me realize something … my focus on throwing had truly changed. I was done throwing for throwing’s sake…but what do I do now?

(What I’ve been Up To! )

It was time to take a break because I had no desire to throw (partly because of physical reasons), but mostly because I had lost enthusiasm thinking about sitting down to throw. Since it was my hobby and not my profession, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to throw if I didn’t want to.  But what I didn’t expect was the guilt I felt not throwing…as if I had betrayed some sort of “calling” with over 500 videos to my name! 

Of course, this isn’t true, but I came to the conclusion that there was so much more I wanted to do with clay but needed to release the idea I MUST throw. It then became okay that the pottery wheel itself took on a more utilitarian aspect, and embracing that I had the skills to use it when it was needed.. this realization was so FREEING!

“It’s not about the wheel, it’s about what you want to make…”

“What DID I want to make with clay?”  
I’m LOVING this new freedom to spend time watching more diverse clay and art videos, reading more technical ceramic magazines, and talking with inspirational clay creatives. Taking time to rebuild the desire to create and explore in clay has found me in a place I never would have imagined just learning the wheel.

Whether I choose handbuilding, throwing, or a combination of the two, I will make sure to ask myself the RIGHT questions! What is it I want to make in the studio today? 

What would you love to create with clay?
Actively seek inspiration so you have created that spark to move you forward again. 

I would love to hear about your experiences with rejuvenating your love of clay! We can always be a light and inspire each other! 

Cup 342 Quite possibly my favorite cup to date

I don’t remember if I mentioned this before (may have), but when I was a teenager I worked at the Egyptian Museum in San Jose and lots of time was spent in the galleries with ancient artifacts, pottery, mummies etc. (along with washing a lot of windows and giving tours of the tomb ;). At that time I learned to really enjoy “archaeology” and the treasures of old…the form of this cup just reminds me!

There isn’t anything about this cup I would change!

Thank you for watching and hope you enjoy it as well 🙂 ~ Tammy Jo

Getting Ready!

After spending a few days mentally playing out how to share my 365 Day quest, I’ve come to some very interesting dilemma’s and decisions. 

1. Not every cup will take one day to complete. It will take a short time to throw or hand build the basic cup form, but there are the added details and trimming that must be done…quite possibly a day later. The question remains as to the best way to share the 365 day process.  
2. When to start?  Since I will be posting videos & blogs each day, I think it would be more manageable to publish them to the internet the next day. So to begin on January 1, 2011, I’ll need to throw my 1st cup on December 31, 2010 to get it online by the 1st deadline. 
3. Keeping the goal in mind. I wanted to establish a habit of throwing on the wheel, working with clay and improving on a daily basis. The “documentary” process should show my “real life” throwing journey. I  already possess basic throwing and handbuilding skills…but I’m an amateur work in progress. I’ll be sharing the triumphs as well as the trials. If I happen to “crash and burn” on multiple cups, I’ll be sure the day does not end unless I have at least 1 cup to show for the efforts!
There are many other items on the list and the reason being I want to start well and develop a steady pace..a comfortable pace, a peaceful flow.  Looking forward to this experience and I hope it can inspire others to get started doing something they love…you never know where it will lead!