Today was my first ceramics class, and I made a pinch pot! A pinch tea pot even. My masterpiece is about three inches tall, and very poorly made. The bowl of the pot has a cracked rim, the spout isn’t high enough, the handle is too small to place your finger inside and the lid doesn’t fit right. But for working with clay for three hours, it’s not too bad, right? What did I expect? To be an expert potter as soon as I walked in the door? Yes, actually. I did.
I made the mistake of telling my teacher that I had taken a ceramics class before. Then when he told me to grab a bucket with some water, clay and some tools and get started, I looked around dumbfounded thinking, “um, what tools? where is the clay? how much water?”. Oh, right, clay is normally in the trash bin labeled ‘CLAY’, and tools are those weird looking wire and wood contraptions next to the sink. Then he casually showed me how to make a pinch pot, and I immediately sucked. I was doing the exact same thing as him, but mine looked way different. How did he make the pot smaller at the top? Why isn’t his cracking? How come his lid fits? What am I doing wrong????
After a few tries and a lot of questions, I finally made something that vaguely resembeled a bowl and decided that I needed to go with it. I made a lid. Then made another one. Then made another one. Nothing looked good and time was running out. I told myself that the next one was it and I couldn’t make another, and so I did. It turned out really bad, but I had to run with it. Then I made a couple handles, four or five bases and one spout. I actually made the spout on the first try! It’s not perfect, but I think it might work. I put the pot on the firing shelf, cleaned up my table and told everyone that I’d see them on Thursday.
The class is weekly, and there are open studio hours every Thursday. I want to get as much out of it as possible and I WILL be an expert potter by the time I leave Shanghai. Therefor, I will attend the class to learn the basics and then spend the open studio hours redoing everything. So on Thursday, I will be making a new pinch pot!!
Before class, I had to find an apron, so I went to the most logical place. Ikea. Honestly, I probably could have found an apron at a million other places in Shanghai, but I’ve been wanting to go to Ikea ever since I found out it was here. There’s something about the store that I’m drawn to even though I rarely purchase more than a pot holder or apron. I am fascinated by the way they draw you through and the vaguely Scandinavian design aesthetic. I also love watching people go crazy in the store. Today, there were five Chinese women huddled around a bin of sifters. Sifters, you know the ones that sift flour? Well, they didn’t. They didn’t seem to have a clue as to what you might use this contraption for. I guess they didn’t grow up baking cookies and cakes!
On the way back from Ikea, I stopped to take a few photos of things I see every day. Literally every day I leave the apartment, I see watermelon trucks, vendors, over packed tricycles, ladies with sun sleeves, blue suited workers and so much more. I am going to make a pact to myself to actually document all of these every day things that I will forget otherwise. So here is my first installment!
I have also started making Granny Squares that will one day be a large blanket. I bought this yarn over two years ago and I’m excited to finally have an idea for what to do with it. I really want to buy more yarn while I’m here in China, but I won’t let myself till this is used. 9 squares down, 500 to go!