[Clayart] throwing, a discipline/story
porcelainbyantoinette at gmail.com
Sun Oct 16 08:54:11 EDT 2016
I love this story. I also see involvement from the teacher. Something that is often times missing in teaching.
Sent from my iPhone
> On Oct 15, 2016, at 6:40 PM, Hank Murrow <hmurrow at efn.org> wrote:
>> On Oct 15, 2016, at 11:04 PM, "Vince Pitelka" <vpitelka at dtccom.net> wrote:
>> There's a lesson I have always done in beginning throwing classes. A few weeks into the semester when the students have mastered the simple cylinder, we have a timed throwing exercise. The students wedge clay and prepare forty one-pound balls. I use a timer, and I give them five minutes to throw a mug. At the end of the five minutes, most of them still are not done, but we stop at that point and start a new one. We do several at five minutes with the objective of completing the throwing within that time, and then we go to four minutes. All along I tell them to evaluate each mug in terms of what went right and what went wrong, and incorporate that information into the next one they throw.
>> After a few at four minutes, we do the same at three minutes, and then at two minutes, and then do the remaining thirty or so balls at one minute each. Whatever they have at the end of one minute, they remove from the wheel and I reset the timer.
>> By the time we get down to the last ball of clay, most of them are at least close to completing a mug in one minute. Most of the clay from this exercise gets recycled, but no harm done there. When they are down to the last ball of clay I set the timer for five minutes again and tell them to throw a mug. Most of them complete a good mug within two or three minutes, whereas at the start of this exercise just a few hours earlier they couldn't finish a mug in five minutes.
>> There are several important lessons in this exercise. One is the simple reality that extensive repetitive practice is critically important when learning the wheel. The other is that speed is critical, because the clay is constantly absorbing water while you are throwing, moving those platelets farther apart, decreasing friction points, and thus decreasing the clay's ability to hold its shape. Taking longer to throw a pot decreases your ability to achieve the form and size you want.
>> - Vince
>> Vince Pitelka
>> Appalachian Center for Craft
>> Tennessee Tech University
>> vpitelka at dtccom.net
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