I have a love-hate relationship with ceramics. I elected to take zero period ceramics an hour before school started in high school because it was the only way to have an art class in my college-prep curriculum. It was the highlight of my day and my first exposure to making three-dimensional objects.
Ceramics is a finicky and heartbreaking medium. Neglect to eliminate all the air bubbles in the clay, and that piece you worked on for weeks will explode in the kiln. Or worse yet, your beloved sculpture becomes collateral damage when another item explodes in the kiln. Even experienced ceramics artists pray to the kiln gods each time they fire. The other tricky bit is the clay’s consistency and workability change as it dries. Dry too fast, and it cracks or add clay that’s not the same dampness and disaster. Ceramics takes lots of practice, timing, and skill.
In comparison working with polymer clay is a cakewalk. There is less mess, consistent clay workability, no explosions, no kilns, and oven-bakes in 15-minutes. I’ve had sculptures in progress on my bench for months, just sitting out, and the worst thing that happens is they attract dust. I can add on to them anytime, no worries, no rush.
With the freedom of vaccination (May 2021), I decided my first social adventure would be attending Anne’s ceramics meet-up. The first time working with ceramics in 24 years was a quick reminder of the love-hate relationship. Love for how it smells and the way earth feels in your hands — hate for how out-of-control the entire process is. Nevertheless, I managed to create my ambitious bunny over a week, and Anne was kind enough to fire it for me. I don’t know how it survived the first firing, but it did.
Working with clay is a spiritual reminder of how life is. To enjoy it, one must resign their ego, go with the flow, and adapt along the way.
Basic shape and structure. Made with slabs, hollow on the inside.
Ready to dry and go in the kiln. (first fire)