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Back at the pottery

Eastnor Pottery doesn’t generally run throwing workshops for adults over the summer – Jon the potter instead concentrates on children’s workshops and running pottery “experiences” at fairs and festivals etc. The adult workshops which I so enjoy only start up again in the autumn, by which time I’m generally suffering from withdrawal symptoms! In fact, I usually find that the first few pots I throw after an extended break are pretty crap, until I get my eye back in. Today I was back at the pottery for the first time since May, and I was pleased to find that my hands remembered what to do straight away.

In the morning I threw some pots with lids. They’re quite fun to make, but also a challenge, as the two pieces have to fit together snugly. So that involves some pretty accurate throwing, using a pair of callipers and a ruler. My mother has commissioned a single lidded pot from me, but I actually threw five pots and four lids, to maximise the chances of getting a compatible pair. While the clay is still very soft and wet, you can’t put them together to test the fit without distorting them. So although they should fit together ok, I won’t be sure until they are leather-hard and firm enough to handle. I’ll go back next month to turn and decorate the pots, at which point I’ll pick the pair that form the best match, and recycle the seconds.

After lunch I threw some side plates, again as a commission from my mother. It takes a surprising amount of clay to make even a smallish plate, and that in turn means that it takes quite a lot of physical effort to centre the clay. My arms and lower back are aching rather now from the effort, and I’m sure I’ll feel it in my legs tomorrow! I came home mid-afternoon, threw my clay-splattered clothes in the washing-machine, and collapsed on my bed for an hour to recover!