Professional potter focuses on teaching
By Amanda Andlee Poland, Head of Creative Arts
Year 9 Visual Art students invited Radford College English and Drama teacher Daniel Ferri into the Visual Arts clay room to demonstrate his expert wheel throwing and trimming of functional pots. Students were impressed by the focus needed when working on the potter's wheel.
Daniel Ferri was a professional potter in Chicago, United States, for 15 years before turning to teaching. He says that, while he enjoyed being part of the potting community, he is glad to have become a teacher as he has always felt teaching is really worth doing and that not everyone can be a good teacher.
Some observations made by students on watching Daniel Ferri's technique included:
You always need to make sure the clay is centred.
To make the form more appealing it is good to thicken the rim.
I was surprised how long you had to wait to trim a piece or pot, waiting until it was leather hard.
That you need a board (on the wheel head) to support the pot when trimming a large plate.
It is important to use the correct hand movements and positioning to form the pot. The correct part of the hand is precise, especially the way you use the heel of your hand. Interesting that every little movement made a difference to the form.
In the next several weeks, Year 9 Visual Art students will practise their skills on the wheel and also model a bas-relief clay sculpture, responding to the question of how to represent values and identity in three-dimensional functional and non-functional clay forms. Students will shape their responses through research into the work of other visual artists practicing these art forms.