My Journey as a Self-Taught Potter

My Journey as a Self-Taught Potter

My pottery journey began in elementary school with pinch pots just like so many others. The difference is that I really enjoyed it and when I got the chance to pick electives in school I picked ceramics. In 2001 I took summer classes at the local college. I was 9 years old and participating in a program called “kids in college.” I took two classes; ceramics and photography. Looking back I can see this is where things really began shaping me into the adult I am today.

I LOVED those classes! I got to learn how to process photos in a dark room and I got to learn the absolute basics of pottery. The class I took was all handbuilding (sculpting, coil pots, pinch pots, small figurines, etc.). In high school I took another ceramics class. Another handbuilding/sculpting class because wheel throwing wasn’t available to me at that time. I realized I enjoyed getting my hands dirty, I loved playing with clay, but I don’t have the patience for sculpting.

In 2020 when the world shut down for COVID19 I got a new chance with pottery. My day job (custom picture framing) was a non-essential job and was closed for a month. During that month my coworker’s girlfriend was also home because she was a server and again that was deemed non-essential. She had a pottery wheel and I practically begged her to let me play on it. She’d taken a couple classes at the local college, so she had enough knowledge to teach me some basics before she left me to my own devices. It was during my second visit to her place that I realized my coworker didn’t really like me too much. During my third visit where she let me glaze the things I had made I decided I was going to get my own wheel and proceed without having to hangout with the coworker.

That began a rabbit hole of learning for me. I started following potters on instagram and watching how-to videos on YouTube and I even got onto tiktok to follow more pottery pages. I found a wheel on facebook marketplace (used only a handful of times) for half price what that wheel would have been new. I got lucky! The young man that sold it to me told me he had taken a wheel throwing class in college and his parents thought he liked it more than he actually did and had gotten him this brand new wheel for Christmas one year. He gave me all his tools and a bat to throw on and the wheel and he was the absolute sweetest!

A couple months later I realized I also needed a kiln, so back to facebook marketplace I went. Another exceptional score for me! I happened to find a listing from an elderly woman that made doll pieces and was no longer able to live on her own. She was moving in with her daughter and couldn’t take her kiln with her. Her days making porcelain doll parts were over. She was closing one chapter in her life and she was ecstatic to know that I was beginning one in mine. Her kiln had only been fired a handful of times and she had taken impeccable care of it. I got both kiln and pottery wheel practically new for half price by pure luck.

In the fall of 2020 we moved a town north for my husband’s new job. I managed to talk my husband into letting me use one of the smaller bedrooms in the house as my craft room. I made it a point to practice as often as I could. I found a friend that had done pottery before and we’d spend a day a week playing on my wheel for several months. Both of us fed off of each others’ creativity. Sadly, that friendship ended because some people don’t need to stay in your life very long for you to both benefit from each other. Wares began to pile up. I was making lots of stuff every day and running out of space fast. I’d also gotten pretty darn good at making things and had had friend make requests for pottery as birthday gifts or Christmas gifts or any other time they wanted to surprise someone. My husband and I had been talking about getting me a space where I could be more publicly seen…nobody knows what you’re doing if they don’t see it somewhere.

This year we made a decision to try my luck at the Daytona Flea and Farmers market. It’s been a slow build, but I’m getting attention and some customers. I didn’t expect to be famous over night, but it’s nice that I can almost cover the booth rental fees with my sales already in the few short months I’ve been out there.

People stop and watch me throwing my pottery and genuinely seem to enjoy the process. I get to tell people the steps of pottery and teach people something. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity I do out there. This past month or so I’ve had inquiries about potential classes. I’m mostly self-taught, but if I encounter an issue I immediately reach out to one of the facebook groups or look it up somewhere to find a solution. I don’t want to ever stop learning! After talking with a number of people at the flea market and gauging interest, we’ve decided we will be holding private classes.

I want each student to get the most out of each class and that means they get my undivided attention as well as use of my wheel (because I only have one right now anyway), demonstration and hands on guidance if they want, all clay provided, use of my tools, kiln, glazes, etc. My goal is to teach one step of the process per class over the course of 3 classes. And to have each student leave with a basic knowledge of pottery and a few items they made themselves.

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