A few weeks ago a friend and I spent our Friday night making a mug each. We, the two of us, enjoy crafts of various sorts but usually independent of each other. This time, the two of us ventured out together. 4Cats Art Studio puts on two hour clay workshops. At first I thought two hours was going to be a little too long, especially when I realized we would be working with a handful of tools and nothing more.
Our first step was to pound out the clay provided in an attempt to pop any air bubbles. We then, using a wooden rolling pin, flattened our clay. My first attempt proved to be a little too overzealous. Rolled out too thin would, apparently, mean that my product would crack, if not explode, in the kiln. So, I scrunched my clay into a not so round ball and started to roll it out again. This time getting a thumbs up from the instructor. Once the clay was rolled out we were instructed to cut around a rectangular cardboard piece, this would be the main structure of the mug. At the same time we cut out the eyes and wings of our soon to be owl.
After cutting and framing the mug, we then placed it on the leftover rolled out clay to create our base. The next steps sounded a bit easier then they were until I let myself get distracted and rid myself of the perfectionist within me. In order to give our owl’s some shape we were instructed to push out the bottom portion of the main frame. I found this tricky, especially as I feared the mug would become too thin and well I would lose my efforts and the $25 I spent on the project in the kiln. As we, my friend and I plus the others in the class, continued our owls started to form.
From here we placed a nose and a couple wings. It was at this point in the class I started getting fairly frustrated, but not at my own work. Although my mug could have looked a little different by this point, I started to feel the pressure of the instructor. We had started a few minutes late and it felt like we were not going to get time to finish everything. With less then ten minutes to go we still needed to put handles on our mugs (if we opted to), create belly’s for our owls and put on a few coats of paint. Things got sloppy to say the least.
In the last ten minutes, I managed to smooth out air bubbles, finger prints, and so forth, create some indents to give the mug some intentional texture, and give it a quick, uneven, and clumsy paint job. I had to pretend like I did not notice the paint that managed to cross lines and interrupt the colour of the owls eyes and belly, and the spots that simply did not get painted altogether.
The final product came out half-decent. The mug is significantly thicker than I would have liked, meaning I could have given my owl a little more shape while also providing more liquid space. The paint job is, well, it is somewhat complete, and the handle is on nice and strong. Spending time with a friend and participating in my first clay project, since my early elementary years, was the highlight of the night; for this I have no complaints. However, if I was to do a similar activity again, I would want more time to complete the project. I would be more comfortable with the clay and risk a thinner layer of clay in the future, especially for the wings. But, overall, a fun way to spend a Friday evening with a lasting memory to collect a few short weeks later.