If you are a bit like me, when you think of a spinning wheel, you might recall the Grimm's fable, 'Rumplestilskin', where the baker's daughter was saved by Rumplestilskin, a somewhat nasty self-serving imp, who offered to spin straw into gold for the greedy king in exchange for the birth of her first-born child.
For me, the similarity between the two wheels is that they are tools involved in an alchemical process of transformation. While the spinning wheel in this fable is myth, though it might be a lovely idea to be able to create gold from straw, there are craftspeople who still use spinning wheels to turn wool into yarn.
I delight in the pottery wheel as it seems almost magical to use my hands in such a way where a raw lump of clay from the earth is transformed into any desired shape of my choosing: a drinking cup, a mug, a bowl, vase or a plate as well as sculptural pieces.
The process never ceases to amaze me and I find it to be a Zen experience that is absorbing, meditative, relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. When it is done well, it is very rewarding. Mistakes can be made, of course, where if you pull or pinch the clay too hard the piece might come out lopsided, or become dented. Potters often call the product ‘wonky’, but sometimes imperfect pieces can be loved exactly as they are…much like the potters and humans who make functional or fun pieces by hand.
Whether the product is ‘perfectly imperfect or imperfectly perfect'-the process is unique! While the finished product endpoint varies-with practice and persistence, along with hand-painting designs, carving options, glorious glazing colors and the use of heat from the kiln, you have the pleasure of creating objects that people will love to use:
1) for wild flowers,
2) for their morning coffee or tea,
3) for their hot or cold cereal,
4) for gifting
The exciting and rewarding part for me, is that these pottery pieces might become their favorite object…their go-to object for a long, long time! Supporting local makers is so much better than using throw-away paper or plastic plates that add to land-fills, or plates that are made in a factory from the other side of the world.
I hope you enjoy this video showing you my process on the pottery wheel-from start to finish: lump of clay to bowl, plates and mugs, then painting the pieces after they were bisque fired in a kiln…then hand-painting a classical design of electric blue flowers. This hand-painted design is a bit of a change of direction for me which was quite fun!
I just uploaded these dishes onto my Instagram page and already have a commission to make a complete set for a customer requesting a set of 4 of each piece. So pleased to imagine that the love I put into my pieces are appreciated by those who will use them at home.
Spinning Wheel Magic Video- Creating Dishes From Start to Finish!