The Biggest Bowl Ever

Originally published at jillianodwyer.blogspot.com on February 9, 2012

Remember when art was play?  There were no critics, no customers, no technical skills, no inner voice all asking, “Is it art?”  It was art and it was beautiful.

I was reminded of this recently by a little girl named Megan who takes ceramic classes at the studio where I do my work.  Megan is a fireball of energy and never fails to wear out the studio manager, Heidi, while making the rest of us laugh out loud.

One day during her class session, Megan pulled me into helping Heidi and her create the BIGGEST BOWL EVER!  How do you make the biggest bowl ever, you ask?  Simple:

Start out by throwing around 10 to 15 pound pugged clay tubes, otherwise known as wedging to my fellow ceramic artists!

  1. Take all of your “wedged” clay and ready it to be rolled by the slab roller.  You’ll need at least five or six of the above mentioned tubes of clay.
  2. Roll out, what else, but the BIGGEST SLAB EVER!  Muscle strength builder alert.
  3. Ignore the “What are they thinking” looks from people walking by … they’re just jealous.
  4. Carefully move your slab to the floor and decorate.  We dumped whole globs of slip, used our hands and show patterns.
  5. Mold … SCREECH …Eh, okay this is where it all fell apart …

For the non-ceramic artists out there, the laws of clay are pretty hard to bend to your will especially when trying to manipulate an absolutely huge slab of clay that is a little too wet.  Did we let the ruin of our slab stop us?  Nope, I don’t think Megan could even be stopped by a freight train!  We turned our failed bowl into a dinner set.  Yes, that’s right, a dinner set of platters, bowls, etc of all shapes and sizes.  Trees were drawn on the bottoms to create a unifying theme.

It took several hours and multiple days to clean up from the project.   The jeans I wore that day will never be the same and my perception of art probably won’t be either.  For those few hours we were no longer listening to all the voices telling us what art was supposed to be and simply MADE ART.  Was it good?  Nope, it was great!  But was it art?  Yes, yes it was!

My piece of the BIGGEST BOWL EVER!  (Bottom and inside of platter)

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