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Ceramics Illustration

My Broken Pottery Wheel

I wanted to do some personal ceramic work on Thursday (Jan 11), so I danced down to my studio, aka the garage, dodged past half a million daddy long legs the size of dogs to get to the power switch, turned everything on and sat at my pottery wheel. I started the machine up and …

THUNK.

Well, that’s not a good sound, I thought to myself. That sounds almost exactly like the drive head hitting straight into the metal of the wheel drive without the rubber tyre to stop it from abrading.

Maybe I didn’t think that, but the sound wasn’t good. I checked the inside of my wheel and yup, the drive tyre was lying broken on the floor like a sad, failed condom.

My wheel was broken.

 

 

 

So the next thing I needed to do was find a replacement part. After calling and emailing half the country on January 11, I found that the entire pottery community of New Zealand was still on holiday. I eventually discovered that Wellington Potters Supplies were up and running and they had the part that I needed. Hallelujah! The part was ordered and I sat by my door and waited.

When the part eventually arrived Isaac and I hurried to get downstairs to repair the wheel. Holy hell it was hard to get on. Our neighbours probably thought we were giving birth we made so much noise.

But eventually we got the bloody thing on, I adjusted my wheel and it was working again.

I then, get this, went back to hand building pots.

While I was waiting for my part to arrive, I acquired a rather beautiful banding wheel and began to handbuild my pots. I hand build all the time of course but this is the first time I’ve used a banding wheel and what a difference it makes! I’ve been so in love with it, I’ve continued hand building my pots after my wheel was fixed. Yes, I am a bad person.

Whos dirty little pot footprints are these?

I started to really fall in love with these little pots.

 

I’m finally bringing some more of my illustration back into my pots. The reason I’ve abstained from really painting my pots in the past is that I felt I really needed to improve my ceramic making abilities before I spent hours painting a piece. It has taken me years but I finally feel that my ability has improved enough for me to invest in my work and illustrate them. This is my first illustrated pot and oh gosh, I’m so in love.

Purirri moths, thyme and mushrooms. All of my favourite things on a pot.

The reason I’m wearing a mask in the above photo is to protect my lungs from clay dust. The technique I’m using is called Scraffito, the dust produced from scratching back through my illustrations will turn back into clay if it comes into contact with water. Something you really don’t want in your nice moist lungs!

If you ever get into making pottery, please protect yourself from clay dust! It really is very harmful and a lot of workshops and classes I’ve been to in the past fail to mention this to their students. If you’re working with any sort of dust, clay, glaze or otherwise, please wear a mask. If possible, one with a HEPA filter which is certified for dust particles. My mask was about $40 for Mitre 10. And bonus, it looks hella cute!

So my wheel is fixed, (I’ve used it exactly once since then) and my classes are starting this week. I’m excited to get back to Hungry Creek, work with some awesome potters and hopefully pump out some more work. I’ve got a whole bunch of these little moth pots in the works so at some point they’ll be making their way onto the website! Fingers crossed!

I’ve also have a commision to finish which has had some heartbreaking catastrophic failures so far. I’m praying that the kiln is gentle with me this term so I can get it finished, so many broken platters last term! All going well I can share that journey with you all by the end of April.

xox
Becky Hunt

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