Today was our third pottery lesson! Our pinched bowls have dried completely, which means they’re ready for sanding. They feel very dry, like a dusty chalkboard.
The bowls will go through two firings before they’re finished. One, which will bake the clay completely and harden it, and the second which will melt and fuze the glaze. Pottery that is only air dry (before the first firing) is called greenware, and can still be destroyed and returned into wet clay. Pretty cool, eh? I’m not going to dash mine into dust, though – I love it! ♡
Mia will put them through the first firing on Monday, and Tuesday we’ll add some glazes, which will be set in the second firing. So exciting!
In the meantime, Mia had us take on a second project: a coiled pot. Scott and I both decided to make plant pots for our mini cactuses, which have far outgrown their shotglass sized pots.
Funny story about Urkle…when I first got him, I accidentally snapped off one of his limbs. I was too heartbroken to throw it away, so I kept it loose at the bottom of his pot. To my surprise, Urkle’s Arm started to grow roots! Urkle’s Arm was aliiiiive!
Marta by this time had gone through more than a few houseplants (now brown and dry, coughing their last breath in her balcony window), so, being the marvelous and kind friend that I am, I decided to buy a little pot for Urkle’s Arm (a bright cheery yellow with green gravel) and give him to Marta to be her hardy little cactus friend. He looked so adorable, just a nub with so much room to grow.
When I gave him to Marta, I gave her only one directive: “DON’T KILL URKLE’S ARM.”
She seemed a little hesitant; nevertheless, promises were made ensuring his well-being.
Not one block down the street from my apartment, we got on the bus and Urkle’s Arm was lauched from Marta’s hands, gravel scattered all over the bus floor. Many shrieks escaped our lips (locals staring at us the whole time) as we looked frantically on our hands and knees for him. It seemed he had premonitions of his doom and preferred to take death into his own hands. To our relief, we found him under the seat and stuffed him back into the gravel (a little lop-sided now).
“There! See? He’s safe…he’ll be alright…I WON’T KILL HIM I SWEAR.”
Not long after (after several phone updates that progressed from, “He’s doing pretty good!” to “Maybe he needs more sun or water or something” to “Uhhhhhh…He’s ok?”) I finally visited Cheongju again and ran straight for Marta’s balcony window.
“How’s Urkle’s Arm??” I asked with excitement. Marta’s voice trailed off into the background: “Welllll I’ve moved him from on top of the fridge and gave him more water…Maybe it’s been too hot…”
I looked in the pot. Urkle’s Arm was a purple, puckered little raisin.
“No, he’s not! He’s just…he just looks a little sad!”
Nope. He was as dead as a dead cactus can be. Still, we watered him, hoping that he would make one of those miraculous recoveries that plants do sometimes. Nope. He’s dead.
He is survived by his progenitor, Urkle, and his uncle Herman.
Back to the pottery section of this post: since we have two cactuses, Scott and I decided to each make one plant pot. This was the inspiration:
And here are our spin-offs of the idea.
It was so hot today (36° Celsius!) that the clay kept drying out as we worked it. There’s no air conditioner in the studio, and the sweat was dripping into my eyes and down my nose, neck, everywhere! We had just walked 20 minutes in the thick, scorching sun to get there, so we sat under the fan for the whole 3 hour lesson. Unfortunately, the fan just dried the clay faster, and many cracks appeared (despite damp cloths on the clay). The clay was a little tough to maneuver and I can’t say I’m entirely satisfied with how it turned out, but it’s alright. I think Scott’s turned out much nicer ^^
Much like our bowls, our planters turned out WAY bigger than we’d planned.
“Do you like to cook?” Mia asked. “You must cook a lot. When you have a party, you always make so much extra, right?”
“Yes!! Even just dinner for two, I always cook too much.”
Mia laughed. “I think big personalities always make more, more. You make a lot of food. Pottery is the same! Big personalities make big pottery! In Korea we call that ‘a woman with big hands.'”
Well then, our hands must be huge! Can’t say I’m surprised, given how generous and big-handed my mom has been since we were little. Food, love, help, whatever ♡
Are you big-handed too~?