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Unleashing Creativity: Crafting Functional Pieces

Updated: Feb 5

It has been over twenty years since I fell in love with taking a piece of raw clay and manipulating it on an electric pottery wheel to be something I could use. I remember my first few classes being over the moon that I had made four bowls in a three hour class. Now when I have a studio day and I am working on the wheel I aim to make 40 pieces in that same three hour timeframe. This past week, I have thrown many bowls, mugs and plates. I feel that making functional pottery over sculptural brings a love to the work over and over with every use. I have been able to prepare for my February Mystery Boxes that are going out soon, and add more stock to the highway pottery store. I have added some pasta bowls and small plates to the highway store this week. Once the February Mystery Boxes go out I will work on getting a lot more inventory in the highway store.

Pottery bowls handmade
Pasta Bowls

I didn't plan on becoming a production potter, but rather just fell into it. People would ask for matching bowls, or matching mugs at markets, resulting in me trying to make same same shapes. When I sit down on the pottery wheel I like to throw twenty of the same shape now. I will cut the same amount of clay from my pug mill so that I can create same same. I feel that this allows me to practice my craft and get better at wheel throwing. Beginning of January, I set the goal of throwing 100 plates so I could practice the shape and get better. Now I have plates in the highway store for sale. It was fun to practice the shape of plates and I will continue to work on making more plates in February. I worked on 6" and 8" plates and so time to go bigger and get better.

I am the happiest when I am creating on the wheel, but this past weekend I hosted the Male Claycation and I got to watch the guests learn the various pottery techniques. Bags of raw clay got turned into some crazy cool pieces of pottery created by their hands. The one guest is left handed and when I teach I don't talk in right hand and left hand. He challenged me to be able to throw on the other side of the wheel than normal. So I threw 'left-handed' to get the feel so that I could feel what I needed to instruct for him to be successful. It was one of those moments that pushed me into trying something new.

When I was working on my Master's in 2013, it was discussed that the teacher should create more than the students. I was reminded of this the past weekend as I was pushing out of my comfort zone so that I could teach better. I realize that the Elemental Claycations will provide me an opportunity to learn from other creatives in my own studio. As I juggle the various pillars of my business and grow all aspects I am reminded that I need to always return to the raw clay and sit on the pottery wheel and just practice functional shapes!

Marea Olafson

Freba Pottery

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