Monday, April 10, 2017

Pottery Daze without the Glaze - NiiloVilla Studio

Occasionally I manage to get a bit of grown-up time to try something new and I like to share my discoveries. This weekend was a treat as I visited NiiloVilla Studio Ceramics in Espoo and learned how to hand-build a pottery bowl. Again it was my knitting group that hooked me up with this activity, certain members are a wealth of information and I thank them. 

The studio is run by Suzanne and while she usually runs workshops for hand-building in clay for children around the city, she has recently branched out to working with adults and to making bowls. This workshop was specifically for yarn bowls, but not all of us went this route as the process is the same other large bowls. It doesn't use a pottery wheel though NilloVilla does run workshops to learn this technique as well. 

The workshop included Suzanne, myself and 3 other women in a nice cozy space where we could spread out our work but were still close enough to chat and get to know each other. Suzanne taught us how to roll clay snakes to make the body of the bowl, smooth them out and then how to create a foot or, in one case, feet to support our bowls. And then we were given free rein to decorate the outside of our bowl. 


I decided to not make a yarn bowl as I tend to crochet out and about rather than at home, so I wanted to just make a regular bowl. I first considered using leaves to imprint the outer surface, but my leaves didn't have prominent enough veins so I ended up using a cookie cutter to make tiny leaves to grace the upper lip of the bowl and then stamped lines from one of my poems about falling leaves onto the sides. 

We then took a break to pick our glazes. It was really quite difficult to narrow it down as there are so many cool colours and effects I'd love to try. An excuse to come again, I guess. The pots need to be fired before the glaze is added so Suzanne will order in our glazes and we will return in about a month to finish our pots. Then they'll be fired again. It's not a quick process, but it's so much fun to see something you've created evolve from a lump of clay. I'll add more photos from the glazing and of the completed bowls.

Here are the other participant's pieces. It's amazing how everyone went their own direction. The first is a yarn bowl, with the cut-out for the yarn.

Elaborate or simple, they're all amazing and show how individual you can be with the same idea.

Now for the important details. The workshop cost 64€ and the glazes cost about 10€, depending on what you decide on. The workshops are run in English and last around 4 hours for the hand-building and then another 2 at a later date for the glazing. Check the website as other workshop costs will vary.

As I was so engrossed in my work I forgot to take photos until my pot was finished, so all photos are the property of Suzanne and NiiloVilla with the exception of the next one. 

Here's my pot, I added a layer of coloured clay, slip, to help bring out the lettering. It's not perfect, but I'm really excited how well it turned out.

I've also signed the older kids up for a summer workshop with Suzanne where they'll be learning to make a pirate's treasure chest and gold coins. See this post for more info about the kids' experience at their pottery workshop and the final reveal of my bowl.

Check out the website for future workshops. Definitely a fun way to challenge yourself creatively. 

1 comment:

  1. Love your pot! Sounds like a lovely thing to do. I'd love to do a pottery class. (shame I don't live a bit closer...)


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