Hey Ma! Look what I made!

Phew! What a week it has been. I think that the last two weeks of early mornings and constant on-the-go schedules have finally caught up with me. Plus, I have not been great about my planning and organisation lately, which has left me with a brain full of hastily made "to do" lists that are slowly eating away at my sanity. I honestly wish I could say that I was able to handle this situation a lot better than I actually did (i.e. worst mood I have been in for a VERY long time). I do feel a bit remorseful for my behaviour yesterday, but luckily I have the most wonderful and understanding boyfriend who is somehow able (and willing) to put up with all of the crazy.

I was, however, finally able to get a good night's sleep last night and am now able to attend to my responsibilities with a clear head and (perhaps) a smile on my face. #1 on my list... BLOG!

Most of you probably don't know that for the last couple of months I have been spending my Monday nights at a local arts centre called the Courtyard Arts. In an attempt to learn something new, expand my horizons and meet some new people I decided to take a ceramics class. Now, I wouldn't say that I'm completely incapable when it comes to artistic endeavours. I definitely don't think I possess the sort of out-of-this-world creativity that sets true artists apart from the rest. I will say, though, that I have not attempted anything involving clay since my cousin and I took children's art classes together at the Flint Institute of Art in the mid '90s. I thought I was pretty good then, although one of my most amazing masterpieces (some sort of chameleon thing) that I gave to my father for Christmas is, to this day, still sitting on a random shelf at my grandparent's house. I can only imagine that it was conveniently forgotten during the preparations for his return trip back to Texas. Thanks Dad.

Anyway, the class is set up more like a free play and socialisation period than anything else. The instructor walks around giving help as needed and offering technical advice, whilst the rest of us chat and play with various types of clay and glazes. So far I've been mainly working on some tiles that will hopefully be good enough to hang up in my room. In the photo at the top, though, you can see two of the three pinch pots that I made during the very first class, fully glazed and fired. I was still looking for the third when when the picture was taken. They were glazed as a set and as a sort of practice with the colors, but they actually turned out quite nice. Someone suggested that I fill them with wax and wicks to make personalised candles. Could make a good gift. Maybe one of you lucky readers will be getting them for Christmas! Just kidding.

The colors are a bit wonky in this photo - but this was originally meant to be my test tile, which was made from the clay that was left over from my main one. It's slightly smaller and a bit misshapen because it was at the end of the clay slab. This is the tile after it's first firing. It's been partially glazed here and once it's fired again, the colors will most likely look completely different to how they do now. Stay tuned for a post-firing photo!

This is the main tile that I've been working on. It's also been fired once here, though the picture was taken prior to any glazing.

I decided to make this tile to replace a beautiful ceramic wall decoration that I received from a friend way back in the sixth or seventh grade. Whilst I haven't really seen this friend in a long time, the Mexican sun has been hanging on my bedroom door in every house I have lived in since it was given to me - including my houses/apartments during college. Unfortunately, this was one of those things that I just couldn't justify bringing with me to England with so little packing space, though I still hope to bring it back after one of my trips home. For now, though, maybe this new tile will fill the sun-shaped space in my life.

I'm quite happy with the way the ceramics class has gone. I'm not sure if I'll continue them in the new year, but they've provided me with a nice opportunity to add to my list of skills and to extend my Hertford community. We'll just have to wait and see how my tiles turn out once they've been fully glazed and re-fired. Hopefully they'll be be something I will be proud enough to display....

Love and creativity.

P.S. Here's a little bonus photo - check out all that Christmas booty from my shopping trip last Wednesday. And yes all of the gifts purchased during this task were carried home in re-usable bags, thank you very much!


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