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Showing posts from June, 2014

Writing a Cylinder

Cylinders are to ceramics what the alphabet is to writing, and the first thing all potters have to learn is to throw a cylinder. This sounds much, much easier than it is. I’ve been at potters’ wheels in various places for years but am still a wobbly, faltering potter wonderstruck if I manage to pull something off. I began at university, in the Round Church at Cambridge. Below the Church, like a secret in the basement, was a little pottery, kiln included, for any student who wanted to come and throw a pot or two. There were no teachers, nobody to tell you a thing. At that time there was no Youtube either, to learn from a vast world of potters out there. You were given a key to enter the ancient grotto -- any time of night or day -- and then, mostly in solitude, you stared at the wheel that was spinning, and tried to figure it out. I have a pot I made then, and wonder how I made it at all. My first real teacher, Bani de Roy , was a student of the illustrious Shoji Hamada