Place: The Pottery
Location: 498 Runnymede Road, Toronto, Ontario, M6S 2Z5; 416-690-9475
I haven’t worked with clay since high school and I was itching to try to see if I any of my skills were still intact. There are two clay pieces I made that will forever stay in my mind from high school: a Mayan/Incan Temple and a life size Chihuahua, both of which I still have today. One even sits on the living room coffee table.
With pottery making on my mind I took a two hour introductory workshop where I learned to make a platter and a bowl. When I arrived I saw four clay wheels set up and a few stations around the sides of the space. Paul our instructor got right down to business and was teaching a few girls already sitting at the wheel the techniques and skills to making a bowl on a wheel. I have never used a clay wheel before and getting that peddle to stay at that consistent perfect speed was hard at first; but then slowly I got it. When I came to the point of tapering and getting the slab of clay to start resembling a bowl I was not doing the technique quite right so my bowl started to get this interesting lip and Paul said, “I really like how this looks and think you should keep it”, so I did of course as I’m all for the unique.
The class then moved on to the second piece and we made a platter. From a slab of clay we used a tray as our form and had the option of stamping in a print or making a raised design and cross-hatching it to adhere it to the platter. The reverse stamping technique required some finesse which I found hard as I couldn’t get the picture to release cleanly, but after a few times it looked half decent.
Our clay projects needed 6-8weeks to dry before they got fired in the kiln and he would paint them for us in the colour we wanted. Paul wouldn’t fix anything, like mistakes and such, but he would paint it for us. I choose raspberry for the bowl and yellow for the platter and hey turned out amazing and I think I my pottery skills are still intact.
For these workshops I would suggest coming with an apron. I didn’t come with an apron but I did wear clothes I didn’t mind getting dirty. It will all wash out no problem as it is mud, but just the same don’t wear your Sunday best. I love my small bowl, even though I was hoping for a bigger bowl this could be a cat bowl or a prep bowl. I enjoyed the workshop and bought a few clay items that are for sale like cups, mugs, small bowls, milk jugs and plates. Some of the techniques used on them were so lovely I couldn’t resist.