After the resounding success of our blindfolded throwing competition, we thought: ‘how else can we screw up a thrower’s capability?’.
Each pair of competitors had only one hand to use each to throw the tallest vessel in 6 minutes! Some pieces were remarkably well formed. Others, not so much! But in the end it was all for the prestige of the title, not the art.
A late addition to the rules was to demand competitors fill their free hand with their drink! Why did it take so long to figure that one out? Better late than never.
All of this restricted pottery training should produce some Kung Fu level throwing skills!
This idea emerged from other final party contests, like head-to-head speed throwing and throwing the tallest pottery inside of several minutes. It was time to make things really interesting!
This time a student at a pottery wheel was blindfolded (even before their clay was centered) but had the benefit of a coach. The first potential side benefit might’ve been to allow students to better focus on what they were feeling through their hands. However it quickly became clear how important the coach/thrower relationship was, and it was fascinating to watch the teamwork play out.
It was immediately apparent how the quality of the coaching became key to adjusting to the nuances of getting a cylinder thrown and gaining some height to ‘win’. In addition to providing a squirt of water here and there, the coach had to learn how to communicate to the thrower in a whole new way, since nobody was familiar with strictly verbalizing specific throwing movements or corrections. So both coach and thrower had to work together to overcome their respective handicap!
It was suspenseful throughout! By the end of each session it was genuinely impressive how well the students could throw blindfolded, and just about everyone was surprised and fascinated by the ‘social experiment’ aspects too!
The final class party is when students converge from different classes, pick up their newly fired delightful work, and enjoy some eclectic pot luck grub.
The weather was perfect, so instead of a barrel fire we knew we had to have our 2nd inaugural mudslinger’s invitational, where random teams compete to cooperatively throw the biggest, crudest bowl against the clock, head to head. Is it easier to spin a delicate yet sturdy form with another set of hands and after a cocktail? Nope!
Students admired each others’ creations and took pictures of their work at the photo station. Between the kids joining the festivities, the great food and banter, there was scarcely a dull moment! Thanks everyone!
It was a beautiful day in Seattle to get a barrel fire going, enjoy some marvelous food and drink, and watch students carefully pull out their pre-configured pieces to see what sort of effects they achieved. I’ll be writing more soon on what we put into a barrel firing to create such cool possibilities. Once pieces come out, additional effects and decoration can be done with horse hair or feathers, which burn random, semi-permanent patterns into the surface.
To see more pottery fired this way, check out some of the #dunsheestudent images on the Photos page!