In my last In-Depth post, I mentioned the some of the hardships that I encountered over my previous two sessions, but I bring good news with this post! Although it took a considerable amount of time, I was able to surpass my first “pottery block” (sort of like a writer’s block).

Session #9
Session #9

In my ninth session with my mentor, I continued where I left off with the water spouts. As you can probably tell from the corresponding image, some of my earlier water spouts were no different from last weeks’, but slowly I progressed, for some of my later water spouts were closer in shape and size to the demo that my mentor made. I don’t believe I struggled with making the water spout because I was executing a step incorrectly, rather I believe it was just a skill that took a lot more practice. In this session, I came with renewed energy and focus and I think that I was able to overcome this obstacle by being considerably more focused especially when I was completing the more fragile and narrow parts of this water spout. This was by far one of the most exhausting sessions, but I went home with a sense of achievement.

Session #10
Session #10

Now in my tenth session, we just quickly brushed up on my technique with the water spout and soon my mentor taught me how to make the handle, which is essentially the very last step in the process of building a rough teapot. At a glance the taller creations don’t look like a handle for a typical teapot, but for a Korean teapot like the one shown in the image below, this is the basic shape you must make. I found the handle to be quite easy to make seeing as it was really just a taller and thinner version of the water spout (which I had practice so diligently) and I progressed with ease throughout this session. Next week I hope to brush up on this skill some more and figure out how it all goes together!

A Korean style teapot

Now to reference Ms. Mulder’s sixth post concerning de Bono’s How to have a Beautiful Mind. Regarding concepts, one example would be from the beginning of my ninth session as I was starting to get the hang of making a water spout. My mentor came over and told me to make the belly a bit rounder and the spout a bit taller and with this instruction I noticed two concepts. #1 this is done so that water can be poured without spilling over the table and #2 this is done in order to make a functional teapot. The first concept is quite narrow, and the second concept is a bit vaguer, but they can both be implemented into the check phrase that de Bono stated, “It seems to me that the concept here is…Is that correct?” I could also tell that these were concepts because (especially the #1) they clarified some less familiar facts. I assumed that the belly was made a bit rounder to prevent excess water from dripping onto the table, but by realizing this concept with my mentor, I was able to clarify this fact. Another minor concept and practical idea relationship that I noticed was when I was making the handle for the teapot. My mentor told me to make the handle a bit longer and this made me realize that the concept would be to avoid touching a hot teapot and burning your hands and the practical idea would be to make a longer handle.

Now to discuss some of the alternatives that my mentor has offered me. Things have been going pretty smoothly with my mentor, so there were no major alternatives that my mentor offered me, but throughout the past ten sessions, he has offered me numerous small tips and alternatives to current solutions. One alternative that my mentor mentioned was to try using a different speed on the wheel when making that something that didn’t balance properly. This didn’t really work for me at first for the skill I was working on, but in fact, I found that this alternative helped me for a different skill altogether. Another alternative that my mentor mentioned was much earlier on when I was having trouble setting the clay. The orthodox solution would be to sort of place and twist the clay on, but my mentor showed me an alternative solution of slamming the clay on to the wheel which seemed to work for me. There are many more alternative solutions that my mentor offered, but these were some of the ones that stood out for me.

I look forward to my next post, hopefully with some more good news!