1. Finding my Centre
Living in the 21st century can be a bit hectic. The commute, the kids, the work, the scrolling through endless screens. Sometimes it's nice to just switch off and zone out from the world. Pottery is ideal for this.
There is one job when sat at the wheel - to make something beautiful. This concentration of effort on one task is hard to achieve in many other activities when notifications or other distractions break the calm.
I read about a group of PTSD sufferers who use pottery as part of their recovery. I think many people would benefit from its calming influence.
2. The Science
Many people would consider pottery an art or craft but I really like the fact there is so much science involved. You can get by in pottery by not really understanding the science. However, if you want to make your own glazes and really understand firing schedules it's useful to know the science.
You probably wont be burning many calories making pots but it's a fairly physical hobby. Bags of clay weight 12.5 kg so just lifting those around is a mini workout. The kneading of clay and upward pulls on the wheel all get the muscles going. If your kiln is at the bottom of the garden like mine there's a fair amount of walking too.
4. Making Something Permanent
It's a romantic notion to think of someone digging up my pottery in a few thousand years. I'm not sure that the future archaeologists would be particularly impressed. Even if the pots don't end up buried in the ground, it's nice to think they will be around for a long time - providing someone doesn't drop them of course.
5. The Feel of Clay
I used to love digging holes as a child - I had many other quirks besides. The smell of clay takes me back to those days in my Gran's garden. As clay is thrown on the wheel the clay platelets slide over each other. It's a really strange sensation to have a solid form that expands or contracts between your fingers. The slippery beauty of clay is quite addictive.
6. Unique Crafting
Even the humble mug has countless possible variations. The handle shape, body shape, size, decoration, glaze variations, thickness of walls. Taking everything into account there are endless possibilities for creative design. Even if a design is to be made repeatedly there are subtle differences between each piece. Every piece of handmade pottery is truly unique - that's why I love it.
Pottery is all about working with your hands and concentrating on the pots. It's the prefect time for listening to music or podcasts. I have a radio in my studio which fluctuates between BBC 6 Music, Radio X and occasionally Radio 2 or even Radio 4 - as long as it's not The Archers. I also listen to a few podcasts such as The Unofficial Shopify Podcast which teach me stuff while I'm making stuff.
Anything I missed?
Let me know what you love about making pottery. If you haven't tried it yet but would like to have a go you may find my article on pottery courses in Yorkshire useful.