Contributed by Susan Gallacher-Turner
Learning is a life long process that circles from learning to doing to teaching and for me, back to learning again. In my last blog I wrote about taking a writing workshop. I'm also taking clay classes. And even though I've taken clay classes, produced clay sculptural work, written professionally and taught classes, I love being a student again.
First lesson learned: I throw clay left handed. I write right handed. Yep. That's why all those years ago in ceramics class, I could never throw a pot, bowl, cup or anything straight. In fact, I was so bad, even the teacher suggested I should stay away from the wheel. Ok, to be fair, my clay had the habit of spinning off my wheel at a high speeds and hitting the wall. But, really, I was trying to do it the right way. Now, I know what was wrong, thanks to Jan, my new teacher who watched me and asked me, "Are you left handed?" "Sometimes," I replied. So, she stopped the wheel, flipped the toggle switch up instead of down and finally it felt right.
Second lesson learned: Potter's wheels turn counter clockwise for right handed people and clockwise for left handed people. Amazing. I never knew there was a choice. And to be fair, I wasn't given a choice. I was to be right handed, period. I've found as an adult, that I do somethings well right handed and somethings well left handed and sometimes I can just use whatever hand is handy.
Third lesson learned: I can throw a bowl. And it isn't horrible, a little wonky maybe, and I needed instruction on some of the steps. But I was able to get it centered and pulled up and pushed out all on my own. Left handed, of course.
Biggest lesson learned: Knowledge is not only powerful but empowering. It's never too late to learn and turn a failure into a success.
Now, I can't wait to learn more about glazes, slips, raku and oxides...oooh what fun!
You can see more of my sculptural work at Susan Gallacher-Turner Sculptures and read more about my creative journey on my other blog Sculpting A Life.