Lovely lace pottery and lessons from students

Posted: October 19th, 2010 | Filed under: In the studio | No Comments »

I’ve always thought that teachers (particularly art teachers) have just as much to learn from their students as their students do from them, as long as we are paying attention. This has proved true time and again in my classes, whether I’m teaching pottery or other types of visual arts, and it’s rewarding every time.

Recently, I taught a hand-building class for three women, two of whom had taken a throwing class with me before. This time, they already had a lesson plan in mind for me—lace pottery. While I have seen lovely pieces of pottery with lacey patterns pressed onto their surfaces, I had never felt possessed to undertake this particular endeavor, despite my fascination with texture. I actually had the idea I wouldn’t be able to get it to work properly, so I just never tried. Naturally, students who haven’t spent too much time dwelling on the technicalities of something aren’t afraid of how the final product might turn out, so I went and got a lacey curtain and decided we’d give it a go.

I had warned them that glazing over their lace patterns might obliterate them completely, and we may have to use a different finishing technique, but these ladies were a step ahead of me, of course—instead of filmy, sheer lace, they had brought thick cotton crocheted doilies to roll onto their clay. My pieces came out OK, although the pattern was so faint I did have to use a stain rather than thick glaze (which I like, though it makes the piece slightly less versatile because it’s harder to wash), but their pieces were so bold in their patterns they could use any glaze they wanted! And it never would have occurred to me to make any kind of lace pottery on my own, much less with a crocheted doilie!

Below are some images of my pieces, and a couple of the ornaments my students made with their doilies. Love it!

My lace pottery, and students' ornaments

The lighter dish is one I did not stain with thinned glaze for comparison. I rubbed it with olive oil, which made it look less dry, but it's still less rich rich than the other two.

Detail of stain and white glazed untextured portion of the dish. I used an iron-speckled clay body for a rustic look.

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