UCAL Pottery Class!

Hello, My Name is Alix.

I was not completely joking in the first post about busting out the Popsicle sticks and glue. Give me some yarn, dried macaroni, 5 toothpicks and dab of Elmers, and I’ll make you a masterpiece. But I feel it is high time I dipped my toe into a more refined type of art. Just so I can show those high achieving 2nd graders what’s what. So, I signed up for a class at the University City Arts League.

There, I learned that the world of pottery comes with a new vocabulary set. Repeat after me:

Earthenware: a material used in ceramics (officially, 25% ball clay, 28% kaolin, 32% quartz, and 15% feldspar… feldspar?)

Wedging: like kneading, but without folding the clay over itself. It’s a way to get the air bubbles out and made the clay workable

Slip: clay that has been thinned with water

Bisque: fired pottery that is unglazed

But as you advance, there’s also “engobe”, “underglaze”, “cheese hard”, and “jiggering”. yeah, now you want to read on.

The University City Arts League is at 44th and Spruce, and it looks like a house, except for the big UCAL sign out front. The pottery studio is in the basement: pottery studio

The first day, my fantastic teacher Priscilla (on the left, in purple) taught us how to wedge (see vocab list!), center our clay on the wheel (by “coning up” and “coning down”), put a hole in the top (I couldn’t think of a more technical term for that…), and pull up the sides. Basically, she showed us how to make a good cylinder.

I, of course, made something like this.

But! Priscilla was patient, and told me to anchor my arms better. “You can’t let the clay move you, you move the clay!” I felt empowered. And I threw this.

Not too shabby. I have class every Sunday from 3:30-6:30, but there are also groups that meet on Tuesday nights from 6:30-9:30, or “Mud in the Morning” at 9am. If you are interested, here is a list of classes. Note that MAGIC is offered! (Please, somebody take this class and report back)

So now that I have my lovely new bowl-type-deal I am going to learn how to trim, glaze and fire it. It’s a great experience; very zen-like, and you can really work out stress on that clay. YOU are in the control!

For more info about pottery in general, good old Wikipedia has a good overview. For more info about how sexy pottery can be, see Demi and Patrick.

There it was, the first blog entry with a REAL LIVE ART TOPIC. As stated in the first entry, your blog submissions are wanted! If you have something to share relating to art in Philadelphia or on campus (Art and the City Year!), email a blog entry-sized blurb to artsandthecity@gmail.com. We’ll take a look, and if your stuff jives with our stuff, we’ll post it!

[[Jiving includes, but is not limited to: writing information on upcoming art events, reflections on past events, info on/thoughts on your own art, info on/thoughts on someone elses art, etc. etc. Basically Arts and the City (Year).]]


One response to “UCAL Pottery Class!

  1. Dear Alix,

    Greetings from Cöpenhagen! We are casual reader of your blog. Especially when Ichs is not schmul boxing, we are interested in pursuing the art of ceramics. Ach yah!

    We don’t know if you is knowing of my Penn Pal, Herr Tim Pian. He suggested we start reading your blog to broaden our interests beyond being schmul, eating schnitzel, and being in kindergarten {{Tim’s note: I don’t know very many German words. Clearly, not watching enough VL.}}

    Much Liebe,
    – Christian & Oliver

    p.s. this entry rocked my socks off!!!

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