It looks like the end is already drawing near when it only feels like yesterday when I started pottery. These past four months blew past like a breeze and already In-Depth night is just around the corner! As this is my last blog post for my final Talons In-Depth Project, I’d like to highlight the progress made these last few weeks while showing the steps I’m taking to be ready for In-depth Night.
In my last post, I left off having made all the of parts the teapot at least once and the plan was to continue with the teapot in order to have a finalized product, but when I came in for the next session, my mentor and I realized that we were running out of time! To have something ready to show for In-depth night, would mean that I essentially had to have everything made on the wheel by the last week of April! The time it takes for the product to be carved, fired, glazed, then fired again would take about a month. So without further ado, we decided that it would be best to focus on making larger cups and dishes for In-Depth Night rather than struggling with a teapot.
In this session, my mentor taught me how to make a bigger cup. Prior to this session, I wasn’t able to make a cup taller than the width of my hand, but by the end, I was able to make a cup tall as the length of my hand! Although I learned the skill, my mentor and I decided that what I made in this session wasn’t worthy enough of being fired, so it was back to the drawing board for me next week.
In the next session, my goal was really just to make as much as I could. There were some better results this time around, so I decided to put a couple cups off to side so people could see the step in between making and firing the cup. Unfortunately, I made some mistakes when detaching the cup from the wheel and a lot of them were left with very shallow bottoms which wouldn’t allow for any carving. So, I got to keep some, but it was once again back to the drawing board for the next week.
In my session this week, I was determined to make something worthy of being fired, and fortunately, I succeeded! As you can probably see from the photo, I wasn’t able to make a lot, but for each one I made, I put in considerable care, so I was left with many well-made creations. Although I made around thirteen items, probably only 3-4 of them will survive the entire process of carving, glazing and firing. During these steps, many items become damaged or cracked under the flame, so I’ll just have to cross my fingers and hope everything stays intact for I don’t have another week to spare making more cups and dishes.
Next week will be my introduction to carving, making a stable base for my cups and dishes and the pressure will truly be on, because a mistake can lead to a whole cup being damaged and unusable. Nevertheless, my passion for pottery has yet to fade and I believe I will be able to make the last final sprint to the finish line. Although this is my last official post, you may see another post with a collection of images leading up to In-Depth night.
Now to reference Ms. Mulder’s post about de Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind. First regarding interruptions in conversations. Two weeks ago, when I accidentally detached my cups too close to the base, my mentor came over to take a look at what I made. When you detach a cup to close to its base, the center of the base often sinks in, making a base that was horizontally straight, curved. My mentor came over and saw how the base sunk and he began telling me how to make a straight base for the second time that day, and this is where I interrupted him. In this case, I interrupted right away to state my point before my mentor could get too deep in his lesson. I told him that this mistake wasn’t due to my skill on the wheel, it was due to the fact that I made a mistake while detaching the cup. I interrupted him in order to avoid hearing the same lesson twice when I was aware of my mistake and in this case, I felt as though the interruption was justified. Due to this interruption, my mentor became aware of the cause of my mistake sooner and I was also able to save time by moving on to make my next cup.
The second topic of this week’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind was based on attitudes in conversations. The most common attitude I see in my conversations with my mentor is a learner attitude from my part. In most of my conversations, I am eager to learn, for that’s the main reason I go to my mentor, and while I have such an attitude, I find that I am neither proving or disproving ideas suggested by my mentor, but instead I am soaking it all up to see if it can be of use in the future. The majority of the time, I walk away having learned something new, so I assume that my learner attitude was successful at the time.
Another attitude often present in my conversations with my mentor is the explorer attitude. Different from the learner attitude, sometimes I have a distinct point of view in terms of what I want to make, but rather than arguing or proving that I’m right, in these conversations, I try to put these different points of view together to a make a more complete picture. In conversations with an explorer attitude, I have challenged some points made by mentor regarding issues such as the traditional Korean vs. the western styles and perspectives of pottery mentioned in my second post, but the intention of these challenges wasn’t to prove my mentor wrong, but instead to fully understand different styles of pottery.
Now that brings us to a wrap for In-Depth blog posts, and I look forward to showing you the entire journey on In-Depth night. Please feel free to come and visit my station as I will have a lot more to tell!