As I hinted in my post last week, I started learning something new! I was taught how to make the most elementary form of a teapot and I found this quite exciting! This week I had two sessions in one week because last week my mentor took a quick trip to Korea to meet some of his family and students overseas, so I felt that I progressed quite a lot.
To make a teapot I learned how to curve the clay inwards instead of outwards like you would do for a bowl. By curving the clay inwards, it allows you to make a more circular shape. Then I pressed down on the rim of the pot, making an indent which would later be the place for the lid to sit nicely. I found that I was able to do this with ease because of all the practice I did in my previous sessions leading up to this and as I made more and more, I could actually see improvement! This truly shows that practice does pay off and some of the pictures in this blog post also prove that.
One action I executed during my last meeting was, I asked for further clarification on a basic technique that my mentor taught me early on that didn’t seem to be working just right. Whenever I set down new clay on the wheel after I used up most of what I set up earlier, I felt that the clay always seemed unstable for about the first five minutes. Addressing some of the material in de Bono’s book, I asked many questions probing further into this topic. By asking these guiding questions and through a mix of fishing and shooting questions such as, am I starting the wheel too fast, do I need more or less pressure, and how much water should I use, I found out that my problem was that I didn’t stick the clay onto the wheel with enough force. When you put the clay on the wheel, you have to slam it down and I realized that I wasn’t strong enough yet, because when my mentor later gave it a try, it worked perfectly. Luckily, now I’ve fixed this problem so hopefully it won’t affect me later on.
Also, reflecting on Ms. Mulder’s post from last week, I tried my hand at using the “what if” statement to bring forth new ideas and perspectives from my mentor. I used this before I brought my mentor over to see what I was doing wrong and by asking these what if statements, I attempted to discover some potential solutions before fully relying on my mentor to try it for me.
Earlier in this post, I mentioned that my mentor took a quick trip to Korea and due to my genuine interest in Korea and the state of pottery in the eastern world compared to the west, I ended up asking a lot of questions. Some of the questions that I asked were; how are your students here compared to your students in Korea, are your teaching methods the same regardless of location, and who are some famous potters in the “modern” age. By asking these questions, I was able to develop a new point of view on Korean pottery, realizing that even in traditional Korea, there are some potters trying to revolutionize this traditional art form.
In my next meeting, I hope to polish up on these new additions to my skill set while improving my relationship with my mentor by focusing on the words of de Bono.