When I found out we were doing a ceramics induction I really wasn’t very interested, whenever I’ve done work with clay in the past (in junior school) its always looked appalling and I don’t feel I have any ability in the technical side of it in order to create what I want to ultimately. In fact this kind of work is one of the reasons I chose not to take a foundation year, because I had absolutely no intentions of ever working with this kind of media and was pretty happy at the time to stick to what I know. So upon arrival I wasn’t very into it, and throughout creating the piece I was constantly doubting what I was doing, I redid the patterns on it multiple times because I didn’t feel happy with any and by the time the clay was beginning to dry and becoming difficult to do anything more with I had what looked like this.
I wasn’t confident with how it looked but decided it was the best version I had so far and was therefore probably worth sticking with rather than risking ruining the product by continuing to change it. When I left the room I expected something to go wrong with it, believing it was going to crack, or even explode in the kiln because I thought I’d made it in a way the tutor had advised not to in order to avoid bubbles forming in the joins. However when I was given this in the second session I was so pleased, firstly because it hadn’t exploded and secondly because it didn’t look as hideous in this colour as it had done. The tutor began to explain to everyone about the oxides that they could use to colour their mugs/pots, however during this I wasn’t concentrating much one what he was saying about the ones he had placed in front of us but instead watching behind him at a board with various different glaze examples which was on the wall and my eyes were glued to a gorgeous blue, shiny one which stood out from the rest by miles. I waited until he had finished and asked him if there was any chance I could use that one instead and described to him how I wanted my piece to look, I think he was quite pleased for a bit of variation and he showed me how to brush the earthenware glaze on in a particular way, and how many layers I would need to do and then used mine to demonstrate how to glaze the insides of the pieces.
When I collected it I was so proud of it, it was utterly different to what I had imagined I would come out of the induction with when I had entered, and I love how it reflected my own love of the ocean. In this photo the pot looks like its got a large water colour-y white section however this is just the light reflecting off of its very glossy finish.
After attending this induction I realised going out of my comfort zone can actually result in some of my favourite pieces of work, I’m not comparing it to other projects etc and therefore I remove a lot of the pressure I put onto myself with these kinds of things. Its something I intend to do more often, and I may even see how ceramics could be worked into future projects, as whilst the facilities are so readily available to me they would be great to use. This little blue pen pot will be my reminder to explore things regardless of whether I believe in my own abilities with it in the first place, I could even find a secret talent in it.
Maybe eventually I’ll learn not to be so hard on myself before I even try something, maybe that will allow me to develop far more skills and not limit things that I do as much as I previously have.