Monday, September 22, 2014


staal has started teaching me pottery.  he taught pottery at a junior college many years ago.  he's a good teacher (and a good potter), he's giving me examples and guidance and plenty of room to make lots of mistakes.  mistakes are important.   i always thought about taking a pottery class at merced college when i was studying there but never got around to it---kind of happy i didn't now, i think learning from staal is going to be a lot more fun (it's already been lots of fun) and i think i can learn a lot more from him than i could in a class.  learning at home with constant access to my teacher  means i can take it slowly and really get a good feel for it all.  
*i have such a crush on my instructor.

mr. staal, my pottery teacher
right now i'm trying to get the basics down as well as i can.  i'm wedging and centering and starting to practice throwing cylinders.  it's messy and challenging---two things i enjoy.

wedging works the air bubbles out of the clay, makes it more consistent, and helps align the particles.


centering is pretty much like it sounds---getting the clay centered on the wheel so it can be thrown.  sounds simple and looks really easy when staal does it but it takes a lot of practice to actually be able to do it---i still have much work to do on this one.

getting a feel for center

i'm really good at making these...

slippery gob of goo

the little wheel pictured above is the one i'm working with.  it has an electric motor with a little foot pedal (like a sowing machine pedal) to control the speed.  staal has been building himself a kick wheel like one he built and used years ago.  i find it a bit intimidating and i'm quite happy learning on the not-so-scary portable wheel.

staal's wheel has an electric motor he scavenged out of an abandoned swamp cooler that was sitting out behind the mill office---he rigged up belts and pulleys and a foot pedal to control the speed.

view of the underside

i can't wait to see the things he makes with his new wheel.  it was fun watching him demonstrate on the little wheel i'm using---he makes it look so easy.

beautiful to watch

staal got us some glazes to try out and ordered some clay which should be here by the end of the month.  we lucked out and got a good deal on a barely-used electric kiln at a yard sale.

staal testing the kiln after wiring it into the electrical panel

i made staal a chop for marking his pots...

chop carved in stone

it's kind of a hybrid between staal's demon potworks from his gilroy days...

and the staal double a/melina m, that he used when he made some plates and cups for me back in our courtship---a symbol that has sort of become our "brand" as a couple...

bottom of my favorite plate

looks like we're in pretty good shape to start making some pottery in the near future.  i'm excited to be learning something new.   think it's going to be a lot of fun.  thank you, staal, for being my teacher.