I’ve dabbled around with throwing pots as a little hobby of mine for several years (8 or more). Since my stroke up until now I had to give it up. I recall back in Hawaii there was some ‘Recreational therapy’ sessions where they would encourage patients to play around a bit with clay, but to me sitting around trying to make little chotchkie and not throwing off the wheel didn’t sound interesting to me. Well, now that I get around better and it’s winter (much nicer in a toasty warm clay studio) I figured I would take another stab at it. My first thought would be to treat it as ‘therapy’, not only hopefully for my affected hand, but also an important step to again doing something I had loved to do. The studio I go to here in Seattle is Seward Park Clay Studio about two miles from home.
Well, the first few weeks were extremely frustrating. I tried to be patient with myself knowing I just wouldn’t be able to do it all as I used to. I started wedging the clay, which is pretty much like massaging the clay body to prepare to work with it was beyond difficult, so I pretty much gave up on that.The work on the wheel actually went a bit better than expected. I can reasonably center the clay (the all important fundamental first step) and got it up into a cone, knocked it back down and even started to make a cylinder or crude bowl. I found I wasn’t using my affected left hand though much as it just added to the frustration. I got the piece up to a workable height, but not having that other hand to build integrity into it, it quickly twirled and tumbled :-(. Also cleaning up afterwards was most certainly one of the more frustrating parts. I wash dishes plenty at home, but trying to clean pottery tools literally in a sink of mud is too much work. I don’t have, nor did I want anything to show from those first attempts. The last couple of times my instructor talked me into trying some hand-building (no wheel involved), but playing around like that I quickly found rather boring. I have skipped weeks now just thinking I was pretty much done with it at least till I got more function back that is.
Yesterday I had a bit of free time so I hit up YouTube and searched for On-handed Pottery and of course EVERYTHING being on YouTube, yup quite a bit (some links below)! So now, my excitement is again renewed and looking forward to this next week. For those of you that may know the difference between clay bodies, it’s probably out with the sculpture buff and in with the B-mix or even porcelain though!
A few decent clips to check out:
This dude’s an amputee!
Holy crap, one hand & one foot!