#92: Crib Sheet

Week 7. Glaze is weird. It absorbs right into the bisque – the once-fired clay – and is a completely different color and texture than it will be after the subsequent firing. Like, this thick orange red stuff goes on the rough pink thing and it comes out smooth and shiny and blue and brown? Alchemy! (But really, chemistry). Alas, there was a backlog for the kiln on Thursday so I won’t have the results until next time. There will be a lot more time to practice glazing though: I’ve decided to take another class after these eight weeks are over. I’m hooked.

You might recall me mentioning that in previous classes I’ve been throwing cylinders. That’s because I’ve learned not to work on too many forms per session. Sometimes even two forms is one too many and I’ll find myself asking, Should I keep practicing this shape or should I move on to the next? The more variables, the more decisions, and decisions take energy, and lack of energy leads to absentmindedness, leads to mistakes. The fewer decisions I can make, the more I can focus on technique.

That’s where the crib sheet comes in. Before every session I write down a list of what I want to work on or pay particular attention to. I keep the list in my back pocket but usually don’t need to refer to it. The act of writing it down is enough to set the intention, get the wildebeests moving in the right direction. Below is the list for my next session – another class means I’ll be working with wet clay again, and this time I’ll be practicing curved tea bowls: