Artists who make things on the wheel are considered potters. Artists who make things with clay by hand ( via slabs, coils, pinching & sculpting) might be considered ceramic artists. I consider myself both as I love both processes equally. I began college in New York as a drawing and painting major. I happened to see some of the work coming out of the pottery studio and knew I had to take a class. Once in the ceramic studio, I was hooked. For the first two years we were only allowed to use hand-building techniques. Then we had one brief lesson on the potter’s wheel, and it was so much fun that’s where I stayed, for the most part, for my last two semesters. I graduated from State college of New York, Brockport.
The wheel process is probably the closest thing to meditating that it gets for me. The first step is called “centering’ the clay. And the slow mechanical yet fluid steps that follow allow yourself to concentrate on that alone. Many of my students have said its very relaxing. You’re concentrating on what is happening between your fingers and the clay, the rest of the world disappears for a while.
After having lived in both Charlotte and now Raleigh, I can honestly say, Raleigh is extremely potter friendly. After moving here in 2007, I immediately signed up for a class at Sertoma Arts Center, part of the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Dept. Their studio is a fantastic place to create and meet like minded people. About 99% of my friends are potters. There are a number of craft shows and fairs available for ceramic artists to sell their wares. Currently I have a booth inside the Pottery Expo tent at the State Fair. For nine days fair goers have access to purchase from more than fifty potters there. North Carolina has a very strong history of pottery, partly due to the abundance of clay in the soil here. I also participate each year at the Boylan Heights ArtWalk, the first Sunday in December. It is a five hour outdoor show with very loyal supporters. And four out of five years , the weather has been great!
I teach many adults how to use the potters wheel and how to hand build at the Clayton Community Center. Everyone learns at their own pace. For some the challenges of the wheel are overcome intuitively, some not so much. Patience, practice and persistence is my motto.
I was asked this question by one of my students recently and after a little thought I told her, anything new. I love working on new forms and processes that I had never tried before or just saw on Pinterest or in a video. I get bored quickly once I’ve mastered something and want a new challenge for myself. Right now I am working on creating cake stands. They are a two-part piece that needs to be technically correct as well as aesthetically pleasing.
Pinterest! On days I lack motivation I get on Pinterest and see so many cool things that other artists are making with clay and I cant get to the studio fast enough to try something out and put my own “spin” ( pun intended) on it!