365 Days of Clay Cups – Who am I & What Do I Think I’m Doing? !


An introduction and the longest blog I’ll ever create!(I promise;) 
 I’ve been “playing” with clay since 2007 and the bottom-line is without consistent efforts, you really can’t improve.  For the love of clay, I’ll make 1 cup a day in an effort to improve “A Cup, A Day for A Year”.   Let me explain…

A first experience with clay.
When I was 7 years old, my parents were Girl Scout leaders, but I was still a Brownie…(you know, not yet old enough to be a Girl Scout, but related enough so I’d have to attend every meeting ).

One meeting was different! The parents had a craft project using air dry clay.  I’m sure they handed me a big wad of it to stop me from pestering, but they had no idea what they would be putting into play. With the squeeze of my left hand and the squeeze of my right, I’d created a beautiful masterpiece! My little hands formed the shape of a nude sculpture..(maybe a little abstract, but a sculpture all the same :).  The parents ooo’d and ahh’d over how miraculous it was and made such a big deal over it I thought “I must be a natural”!  Nothing more was done with clay, but that event change me. There was only a brief ceramics class in 7th grade, but memorable all the same because it was the only class where the time moved too fast and I never wanted it to end!
Fast forward to 2007, 30 years later. A beautiful family, home educating 3 of my 4 children and running a prospering online publication business. Sounds ideal, but to be honest, I was a pretty much stressed out workaholic. My health practioner advised me to find a hobby NOW and LEARN to relax.  Easier said than done! The only “artsy” thing I thought I might enjoy was clay, especially the pottery wheel. 

No Time for School…Not Artistic… 
I have a very creative, idea oriented, brain, but I’m not necessarily “artistic”, the early indications were a fluke 😉 …I also knew I didn’t have time to go the local college and take the pre-requisite (handbuilding) classes just to get to the thing I really wanted to learn…throwing on the wheel. 

Getting started on my own…What did I need… I went toEbay and bought a Big Boss pottery wheel and found a working kiln on Craiglist for $75. I also picked up a great deal on over 250 glazes from a storage facility sale and clearance glazes at the local Nasco store. In retrospect I think for a while there my “hobby” was the searching for what I needed rather than the actual DOING of the claywork!  

Learning my skills… I’m video/book taught. Initially I rented Robin Hopper’s DVD series from SmartFlix , then checked out books from the library and started watching Youtube videos. I did have one 45 minute session with a wonderful local potter, Sandra Veneman, who showed me how to throw a double walled vessel.  When I’d get the chance I’d go outside and throw a little on the wheel, or just make random items because nothing had a purpose or plan. Sometimes there would be (and still are) big gaps of time in-between getting out to the workshop because of either the temperature or my busy schedule…I just never made the time. There has been no real rhythm or accountability to grow as a potter, which is something I’d really like to do. More than like actually…something I feel I must do!

Why 365 Days of Clay Cups ~ The bottom-line is I need to spend more time out in the workshop doing what I love…playing with clay. I also needed something to  keep me accountable. Being a spontaneous soul, the thought of doing the same thing over and over gave me hives, so it had to be so I chose to take one year and focus on improving my skills in one area. Cups! With the variety of handles, shapes and feet I can work with, it felt like the best fit! 

The only way to improve is with practice, with trials and errors, input and education! Coaches & Mentors Wanted!!! I’m hoping you will come with me on this adventure and share your experiences, knowledge and especially your own clay journey. IT’S ALL FOR THE LOVE OF CLAY that I make ONE CUP A DAY!
Until Next Time!
~Tammy Jo ~

2 thoughts on “365 Days of Clay Cups – Who am I & What Do I Think I’m Doing? !

  1. You are my hero! I’m exactly like you! Hobby-clay-lover girl!

    To see you do it, means I can too!!

    1. What you said is exactly what I hope for and the right mindset to have about clay. It’s only clay and it’s fun to play, this made my day! (Oh dear, I had no intention of rhyming just then LOL!!! )

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