Learning pottery

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Since childhood, I have been regularly in contact with potters. The French department where I come from has a famous village called Saint Quentin la Poterie. This ancient village is known for its long tradition of pottery that dates back to the 14th century.

Less than a five-minute drive from my village is another tiny village called Pouzilhac, where potters used to settle. There were a few pottery shops there when I was a child. I remember visiting these shops to buy a few souvenirs with my cousins who spent the holidays with us.

Despite my exposure to pottery at such an early age, I had never thought of exploring it as a possible creative activity for me or has a potential hobby all these years. I am not sure why. Maybe because manual activities like pottery were getting back press at that time. Hopefully, this is no longer the case today.

But since moving to Barcelona and starting a new chapter of my life, I have been thinking about giving pottery a try. I was hoping that opportunity would pop up at the Untitled artists’ residency in Jinze, China. I got what I wished for. 

Jinze Art Centre, an independent art and craft organisation that preserves and promotes Chinese craftsmanship tradition, was close to where I stayed. Among the traditional handcrafts they are trying to preserve is pottery.

For almost two weeks, one of the pottery teachers from the Art Centre would come to the Untitled studio space every afternoon to give me one-hour pottery lessons.

Kneading the clay and getting my hands dirty transported me to my happy childhood days. It was such a fun learning experience for me.

The first technique I learnt was how to manually remove as much air bubble as possible from the clay.  After learning how to do this, I started creating some pots using the ancient coiling technique. I also had the opportunity to try the throwing technique with a pottery wheel at the Jinze Art Centre.  

Pottery is one more skill I hope to develop in the future.