In April of this year I started to learn how to throw clay on the wheel, something I've been wanting to learn for some time now. With such great facilities at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, I'd be a fool to not take advantage of the opportunity. During the summer I got into a routine that involved throwing a cylinder (or something vaguely resembling a cylinder), cutting it in half to study its form and figure out where I needed to improve my technique, and starting the cycle over again. This is why you haven't seen much clay activity on the Fanciful Lobster. I've been working on it regularly, more so than my printmaking in fact, but I haven't had anything finished to show you. 

Well, I needed to learn how to pull handles, and to do that I needed some cups, so I finally threw a few and kept them this time. In terms of form I went with a basic cylinder, but created a foot that flared out slightly to give them a more interesting profile. Here they are after being trimmed and with their handles attached.

Once they had dried out and been fired once, it was time to glaze them. I didn't see these pieces as a finished set, so I decided to try out some reduction firing, in which oxygen is removed to alter the color of the original glaze. The method can be a bit mercurial, but since these were learning pieces for me anyway, I figured I had nothing to lose. 

Here they are after being dipped in the glazes. The main body was dipped in base yellow, while I dipped the rim, and in some cases the handle, in turquoise. Glazes always change color when fired, so what you see when you dip them is not what you get. This is especially true in reduction firing, where the results can be unexpected.

Here they are after they emerged from the kiln.

This one in my opinion was the most successful in terms of shape and glazing. The firing turned the turquoise into an earthy purple. 

As you can see, the cups are quite small, because I was throwing with smaller balls of clay. This cup is the biggest of the group, but even it is petite by the typical mug standard.

Here are a couple of the others. Depending on where the mugs were placed in the kiln, the turquoise glaze varied from dark purple to light green. Again, I didn't see these pieces as part of a set, so I wasn't concerned about the incongruity.

I know I still have a lot to learn, and it will take years to perfect my technique, but for early attempts at finished pieces I don't think they turned out too badly. Sure, the proportions aren't ideal and they're on the small side for most folks, but they're structurally sound and relatively centered. As I get better I'd like to introduce more of my own aesthetic to them, but considering these were basically practice pieces, I think they're all right. I see the potential for a lot of creative exploration and experimentation, and as long as I remain patient and persistent, I know I'll get there in time.