“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
― Pablo Picasso
Potters like the feel of clay in their hands. They seem to push out all their anxieties, their fears and their lost dreams into the clay and transform them into something beautiful and useful. Watching a potter turn an ordinary piece of lumpy, somewhat unattractive grayish clay into a voluptuous bowl with a pouty lip or a sophiscated vase with intentional blemishes is an unspoken pleasure of mine. Well, unspoken until now, I suppose.
There are plenty of tutorials out there on how to throw a clay pot on a wheel. But, truly, there are only three things you absolutely MUST do in order to become a potter. Just three simple steps.
1. Have the passion for clay. You need to want to shape the clay using your hands into something; now, whether that something is to be useful or a pretty object to be admired is up to you. But, unless you like the feel of the clay in your hands and the burning desire to create….well…then throwing pots may not be for you. This is one instance where you’re going to have to love the journey.
2. Take a class. It doesn’t have to be formal. Find a friendly potter and sit down with the at their wheel. I’ve found that potters, in general, are helpful people. They don’t mind sharing their craft. Or enroll in a ceramics class at your local community college. Sometimes community art centers host pottery classes. An even less formal option would be to Google up a YouTube video or two. Although I would argue that there’s nothing quite like being next to a real potter throwing a piece of clay.
3. Get a wheel. Depending on how much you like throwing pots, you can spend anywhere from several hundred to several thousands of dollars. Some art centers will allow you to rent time on their wheels. But if you have the passion, you’ll need one.
That’s it. Three steps and you’re on your way. Easy, right? Well, probably not quite as easy as all that. If you’re a potter, let us know how YOU got started!