My first class at Dougherty Arts Center is a pottery class called Between Form and Function taught by John Vela. I attended my first of six classes last week. There had apparently been some administrative issues because John had tried to reach me by email to inform me of materials I would need for class, but he had my email address wrong so I showed up empty-handed. John was superb and made me feel right at home, quickly finding tools and clay that I could use for class without making it feel like an imposition. He was wonderful.
Apparently you cxan focus on what you want in this class whether it be throwing on the wheel, slab/coil building or pinch pots. Everyone wanted instruction on throwing on the wheel so we quickly moved into setup of our work area and centering clay. Since I'm a lefty but often do things right-handed, I wasn't sure which way to go. I told John what a horrid time I had trying to learn this skill thirty years ago back in high school (my pottery teacher actually completed my final project for me so as not to ruin my GPA, well, except for the lid, I did that myself). He told me he wanted me on a reversible wheel and he started me off left-handed.
I had such an enjoyable time I can't help but think that my problems all those years ago were due to a right-handed wheel. Although I do currently have considerably more upper body strength now too. In any event, I was able to make two cylinders as instructed and then played around making imperfect (intentionally) pieces just to have fun and push boundaries of the art form for familiarity's sake. I made four pieces in total.
John seemed to think I was doing well for a new student. I was able to make a cylinders as he'd instructed me to make, so I definitely felt like it was successful too.
He mentioned that there was the possibility of doing Raku firing if the burn ban continues to stay lifted, so I'm crossing my fingers. I'm a HUGE raku lover and would love to have my own pieces to add to my home gallery. Next on my list is to go pick up the clay John told met get and we'll see what else I learn in the next 5 weeks!