Explore Practitioners 2: Pottery (Cups) – Chia Li Hui

Pottery is one of my many interests that I have always wanted to learn but have no time to do it. As I wish to create my own plates and cups in the future, I decided to choose my second creative practice to be pottery. As my cousin opens pottery workshop for children, I decided to approach him to learn the basic skills of pottery.

Process Documentation

Steps:

  1. Take a fair amount of clay and put some water on it.
  2. Make sure that the clay is not too watery. If it is, leave it to dry on Plaster of Paris. The clay should be partially sticky and not too hard.
  3. Put it on the middle of the pottery wheel and set the pottery wheel to be turning at a pace you are comfortable with.
  4. Shape the clay into a cone-shape and use your thumb to push the middle of the cone down to create the opening for the cup.
  5. Move on to shape the body of the cup.
  6. Use the wooden carving tool to shape the bottom of the cup.
  7. Use the sponge to remove air bubbles in the clay and the tip of the cup so that there will be consistency.
  8. Use hairdryer to dry the clay.
  9. Use the wire clay cutting tool to remove the cup from the pottery wheel.

Tools used

  1. Plaster of Paris (Calcium Sulphate Monohydrate)
  2. Pottery wheel
  3. Wooden Carving tool
  4. Sponge
  5. Hairdryer
  6. Wire Clay Cutting Tool

Worksite Documentation

My cousin conducts the workshops in his house. Although I find that the worksite is a little cramped, there was still enough space to learn. As his stuffs were surrounding the pottery wheel, I had to be extremely careful so that I would not dirty his stuffs while learning.

Pain points

As it was my first time trying out, I find it hard to gauge how much clay to use and how to determine whether the clay was ready to put on the pottery wheel. It is also important to have firm hands so that the sides of the cup were even. In addition, the cleaning up was quite tedious as for an amateur, the clay will splatter outside of the pottery wheel. However, despite all these difficulties, I still enjoy the process of learning pottery!

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