Baleia Blu Ceramics

Handmade by Adette Contreras in Brooklyn, NY. Inspired by a big blue whale and our little blue planet.

Back for the Fall Season

Back for the Fall Season

Been away from the clay studio for a couple of weeks for the transition between summer term and fall term and back today for the first time in too long. Always a twinge of nerves coming back to something after being away for a while, but man, the clay just feels like coming home each time. Is this what it feels like to have a calling?

For the summer, I've been drilling deep into cylinders, practicing the shape, figuring out pulling techniques, and exploring what works for me–relying on some muscle memory for movements I haven't done in years. I guess my Asian education is really manifesting itself in my need to drill and practice, practice, practice. Seeing such a difference in my approach to the wheel v. Swedish Swanberg's approach; I'm much more about learning and making improvements with each iteration–very repetitive and very methodical, while Måns is much more about play and exploration–very free and artistic.

So today, I thought I'd get back into the rhythm of things with–surprise, surprise–cylinders! Was very pleased with the results, and in turn, with myself. Ha. Thinner! Taller! The ironic thing is that throwing cylinders is like being a teenage girl... always striving for nearly impossible standards of taller and thinner. The cylinder is the base for a lot of shapes from there, vases and other tall vessels, so getting that technique down will open up a bunch of doors once you get to a certain level. Of course, the taller you go and the thinner you go, the more likely it is to collapse on itself, especially if you're even just slightly off-center. So, it's quite a testament to someone's skill level to be able to throw these delicate shapes. And the masters just make it look so easy, like the clay itself wants to go into the shape. Pottery goals. 

My cylinders today were on point. Yas. Got the base exactly where I wanted it. Angle of the walls were much better, and the thinness of the walls were much more consistent from bottom to top, so pulling with my knuckles seems to be working for me (v. a sponge, a rib, or the finger tips), so that's a nice little discovery. Steady is the name of the game, so I notice that I tend to hold my breath whenever I pull up a wall. Will continue to work on that part. Just like everything, breath is such a big part of it; it's so meditative.

So the second go at the wheel today yielded the tallest and thinnest cylinder to date. This is the super model of cylinders. I shall name her Gisele. Very pleased.


And I learned how to throw some casserole dishes today. Melissa (our teacher) showed us a couple of different techniques, so I threw two different ones, one per method. The larger of the two is pictured above right, and the smaller one is on the black batt above the group shot. The smaller one reminds me of a large dog dish, and the larger one is perfect for my cauliflower gratin. Pretty exciting to know that I'll be able to bake in these bad boys. And this was my first go at it, and I'm happy with the proportions and the shape. Looking forward to leveling up and using one of the wider batts for the larger pieces. Serving platters, here I come.


Speaking of shapes, these two above were the last pieces from the summer term. They're also rocking thin, very uniform walls, so I'm happy to see my progress. Trying out these very pleasant rounded bottoms. Aesthetically, I love them, though I'm thinking they're not the most practical shape to contain liquids. They're just asking to be pushed over by Chimichanga Cat, so I'll have to play around with the next version of them. For now, trying to figure out what's best to glaze these.


And I found some forgotten plates I never fired from the summer. Funny how quickly your standards change. Didn't think these were worth firing, so back they went into the bucket... back from whence they came. Gotta love that about clay.

Handles and Maker's Marks

Handles and Maker's Marks

Wallpaper Envy

Wallpaper Envy