I’ve always wanted to learn how to use a pottery wheel. The thought of getting my hands all messy while diligently shaping a clump of clay into a perfectly round bowl has always intrigued me. On Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to actually experience pottery making myself. Pete Sniffen, our Renewable Energy Teaching Fellow, taught me the four steps of pottery making: center, burrow, open, pull and compress. Never before did I think four steps could involve such technique and coordination! As the pottery wheel turned faster and faster, my hands desperately tried to shape the ball of clay into a bowl. Splotches of wet clay hit my pants, the clump evolved into the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and my hands started experiencing serious cramps.
Fortunately, Pete came to the rescue, and we worked together to create a clay bowl. While I shaped the ball with my hands, Pete instructed me on proper hand technique and ensured my clay was the correct consistency. In the end, I created a simple, round bowl– my first clay masterpiece! At what other school could my science teacher also instruct me in the art of pottery making on a regular old Saturday morning?
-Emily Busam, Beloit, WI