Potters & Sculptors - Making Rock from Mud
I have been throwing clay since the 60's with pretty good results and taught 3 adult and a childrens classes every week. However, 8 years ago I had a stroke which took me out of the business of clay for many years.
The past three years(coming around)I have noticed many things I cannot do any more, such as throw big pots, certain clay bodies I do have the strength in my arms and hands to center clay let alone cone it up on my wheel left me very frustrated and was forced to look into many different bodies I can now handle. I still have not found the unique clay I am looking for....
Trimming pots (which I enjoyed before the stroke) is a bit more difficult now and I must allow myself patience of self for success. My mind and body do not work well together at times. Mind wants to get out in the studio and work 8 hours of production and the body is only good for 1 to 2 hours.
Clay has been my personal therapist for stroke recovery, thinking about others who have gone through similar events I think they could benefit from what clay can teach if you have the tenacity to give it a whirl.
I agree that clay is great for recovery Ann and people at any level of disability can produce something wonderful and benefit from the entire experience. My hands are very weak and clawed but I hand build and although I would love to throw, I try it every once in a while and don't have the strength or dexterity to get really comfortable with. I am a huge believer in tools and bought a 15" slab roller at NCECA that has bumped my production up to 6 cups in a day! Doesn't sound like much but for me that is smokin.
Energy deficits are tough to deal with and I've been told many times that it is like a bank where you make withdrawals but need to keep it replenished through rest, etc.
I had a stroke almost 7 years ago. We're in a similar place in that respect!
I can't throw big, either. Also, I totally cheat and use the Giffin Grip for trimming. I have a resting tremor, and throwing helps a great deal.
it's good to meet you.
Nice to meet you too. I too have a Griffin Grip and I don't seem to use it much as I rather moisten the wheel head with water then place the bowl or what ever running the rim around until a vaccume is made and centered. Then I can trim with ease. I am an oddiity since I enjoy trimming and try to make the bottom as nice as the rest of the pot. I too have tremors some days more than other and use my body as a tool and the rim of the splash pan to help control it.
I find I get tired especially weddging the clay. By the time I ball up 15 pounds of clay I am exhausted if I can do that much. Actually, there are times I can only do 6 then exhaustion sets in. You know what, that is ok too. Resting up a bit and I am ready to throw. I visulize my work and that keeps me movtivated. I can see that bowl I want to throw. I use to make beautiful bowls and now I struggle with small ones. I have the knowledge and years of experience I'll keep at it and one day I will make that beautiful bowl once again.
Here's to clay,
Hello Ann, I started working in clay in jr. high and high school, just before I graduated I suffered a Stroke this changed the entire path of my life. I was a child prodigy on Piano I was going to major in music with minor in ceramics in collage, but my stroke ended my ability to play piano or attend collage. I was sent to a rehab center for stroke patients. It was here they handed me a glob of clay to manipulate to regain some feeling and control in my hand and arm! It was this clay that saved my life and opened a whole new world. I was able to return to collage and studied clay ceramics and pottery I have made a living making and teaching ceramics and pottery.
I'm still considered disabled though I can't stand or walk without the assistants of a cane I teach ceramics and pottery two days a week. I use a clay centering tool I bought from Laguna Ceramic supply many years ago, you can by this centering arm from Bailey ceramic supply online it works great with out a lot of effort to center a small or large amount of clay.