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glaze development workshops/long

updated sat 1 may 99


Joyce Lee on mon 17 may 99

I would like to reinforce Wendy's statements about Hopper's two-week
course on Vancouver Island. I "happened" into that class after very few
months in pottery ... before even discovering Clayart or having a
studio... just a wheel and a kiln in a corner, for which I was grateful.
The course was not designed for "beginners" and I was the most beginning
beginner of all time, but it was the only show in town... or that had
come to my attention, anyway. Robin let me in after I found his home
telephone number, called, talked to his wife (also an accomplished
potter) and to him and pleaded with both, promising to be
diligent&helpful and to cause no problems because of my ignorance. After
the first session I KNEW I was out of my element ... decades since I'd
had ANY chemistry or physics I joined the group that worked in the
lab 10 to 14 hours a day most days, and who THEN joined dynamic,
charismatic Randy Broadnax's raku group who fired all night long
...learned a lot there, too...what fun! Heady stuff for a retired
desert person older than the pyramids! I've been enriched constantly by
the knowledge gained in that course. I know I'd still be using
commercial glazes, one kind of clay and have probably long ago lost
interest...if it weren't for some glimmering understanding of glaze
development. I hasten to add that for you artists out there the libeled
"commercial glazes" and "one clay" style may work great ... given such
limitations, you rise to the occasion, accept the challenge and do grand
work! NOW, I probably could do so, too (with the exception of the "grand
work"), but not four years ago. The awesome part is that the potters in
class who'd been in business actively for 20 years also learned what
they'd hoped to learn PLUS much more. (As Susan remarked, "With what I'm
learning to do to glazes, those potential customers aren't going to be
able to keep their wallets in their pockets!") Not to mention that all
the class members were generous and inspiring to what they must surely
have thought of as a retired "hobbyist" just playin' around with her
brand new shiny scales and childlike "test tiles" and empty noggin ...
talk about a tabla rasa... and, then, I returned to the desert and
discovered Clayart the next week ... thank you, thank you....

In the Mojave