Last weekend we had our first bird workshop for the year. I like to wait until the cooler weather comes in before I invite people into the ceramic studio as it is easier to use the clay when it remains damp for the duration of the day. My studio gets quite a bit of sun and heat in the summer months.
So six lovely ladies managed to find their way to the bay, the day opened up with gentle sun and we headed into the workshop. This class was for making a nesting bird, a sculpture that sits on its own oval base and therefore has no (bird) feet. Chosen birds were a hen, a guinea fowl, a giant petrel,a pacific gull, a pelican and a slightly different take on a kelp gull.
I love seeing how a block of clay transforms as 6 different people take hold of their own piece, use their hands to push and pull, join and smooth the clay, beat it with a stick, it takes shape and the individual character starts to emerge.
I work my students consistently for the first half of the day, there is not enough time to think too much, we are busy making and people are following instructions as each part of the bird comes together. After lunch we move into a different rhythm, it is time to paint the bird with underglazes. A gentle process and much more meditative, I notice again and again that this part of the day is always quieter as people focus on brush and colour. I enjoy the transition from working in quite a strong way during the morning and then at a much gentler pace in the afternoon.
I never cease to be amazed by the creations people make, it always has its own thrill for me. I love seeing how each persons sculpture is unique and delightful.
Now all we have to do is wait until the birds are completely dry before they can be put into the kiln and fired to 1100 degrees.