Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Learning by Teaching

For the last twenty years I have spent most days at the wheel, confident in my ability to take a lump of mud and turn it into the pots I see in my head. Granted, I have had the occasional day off for injury, vacation, etc, but by and large, most days have seen me throwing pots.

When we took on our apprentice Hannah, one of the things we looked forward to was getting to know where she comes from and what she brings to her way of working. She had previously studied under another potter in Ithaca, Margie Martin. One of the most interesting things about watching Hannah work on the wheel was that she centered almost completely opposite the way I did. She spent half the time centering that I did. WHAT? How was this possible? Turns out she was using a similar method to what Robin Hopper suggests.

So I had to try it. Damn if it doesn't spin circles around my previous methods. Here I am, two decades of making pots and still learning the basics! Go figure. I know some potters will say, of course you do it this way. Well, I didn't. Guess it just proves that there are always other ways of working. I love the idea that even at this stage in my learning, there is still LEARNING.

I encourage anyone wanting to throw better, just beginning, or even pros, ... to check this video out. There's a lot to be learned from any potter, but Robin Hopper is a potter's potter. He makes it all look so easy.

Click here for the video from Ceramic Arts Daily

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