Potty about pottery!

Since being unable to work I’ve had to find other things to fill the void in my life.

Many people may be thinking how wonderful it is to be at home all day but that’s far from the reality. Being unable to work brings with it money worries and a feeling of guilt. And as far as sitting around all day… well we are doing it on our own (or with young children as I did for a couple of years) while in constant daily pain, struggling to do the most basic of things and often fighting with medication side effects. It gets very lonely and it’s very easy to find yourself falling into a depression. If given the choice most with a chronic illness would happily give up their illness for the chance to work again.

Thankfully, around a year after I lost my ability to work I started a pottery class. I’ve never done it before but I had seen my mum doing ceramics classes and saw what things she had made.

Apart from anything else, I got out of the house and had the chance to socialise with my fellow classmates. Many I am still in touch with all these years later.

In the beginning I found it hard to let my creative juices flow. After being a scientist for so many years I was stuck in the logical Vulcan type mindset *does Vulcan hand greeting* and my creativity has been stifled. Slowly, as I persevered I found that I actually have an affinity for the clay. I love how it moulds into whatever you can think of. I might share some of my early work with you sometime, if I’m feeling brave. But it was a start and at the time I had no idea that I would end up with a kiln and wheel of my own, and a workshop in my garage!

An early photo of me learning to make a coil pot in pottery class.

An early photo of me learning to make a coil pot in pottery class.

This is a photo of me in my first pottery class. We were learning how to build coil pots for part of our accredited course. I never did like that technique but I have tried it again since and found that it does have it’s place.

I’ve since done 3 years of courses until the charges for these classes put them out of my reach. Saying that I think I’ve learn the most in my garage trying out ideas and using books for technical details. I have a small collection of prized books now. They are my babies!

Getting Kenny, my kiln was one of the best things I could have done to help heal myself (by that I mean get to the acceptance phase of life with illness). I also had to name my kiln Kenny so that I could say, ‘Oh my god! I’ve kilned Kenny!’ I will leave the last bit off though so as to keep this page child friendly! I know the South Park fans out there will know what I mean. Wink!

To keep my interest I bought a second hand pottery wheel, now named Lily, and am teaching myself how to throw on the wheel. It’s been put on hold for a while though as it’s so cold in the garage in the winter and that doesn’t help my joints a whole lot. My aim is to throw a set of dinner plates and bowls for the house. Yes, it’s a long term goal, but you have to have goals in life. I plan for them all to be different and very colourful! I’m not sure what hubby think about it though. Talking of hubby, don’t tell him┬ábut he’s better on the wheel than me!

Please excuse the really poor photography, it's an oldie!

Please excuse the really poor photography, it’s an oldie!

Oh go on then… this is my first piece of ceramics that I brought home. Please excuse the awful photography and the harsh flash shadow. I promise I’ve learnt a few things about photography since!

If you look carefully you can see that this vase is actually wonky and has, in fact, become known as the wonky vase in this house! The glaze is too thin and I didn’t add enough crystals for more spots. I learnt a lot from this piece. I keep it on the top of my lounge unit to remind me just how far I’ve come over the years.

I will be adding some of my recent (and decent) makes to the shop on this site over time. In the meantime you can have a nose at my site on Etsy to see what I do now. Here it is.

I think that’s something important that we should all do. What ever craft or form of creativity (writing, music etc) you tap into don’t forget to keep a record of your early work. You might be over the moon with your efforts or like me, not get things quite right. Either way when you look back after a year of practicing your craft you will be amazed at how much you have achieved. I encourage you to see it more as a journey.

If you are really brave then why not post a photo of your early creations to share with us? Go on!

Cath xx


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