Using clay to make a coil one foot highwas a truly unforgettable experience. It is a memory that will sit in my mind for a long time. Though the assignment seemed excessively simple at a first glance, I was soon to learn that it would not be anything close to simple. Every step that I undertook in the making the coil presented a new challenge which required an innovative way to solve. Though I was able to maneuver through the challenges and difficulties, I later appreciated the complexity and immense skill that clay arts require. I therefore gave an ovation to all the people who make their lives through this art. This is truly a talent for the people who do it with ease.
I was at a loss on where to start. I therefore took a few pieces of moist clay and started rolling, modeling, and kneading them mindlessly between my fingers. I had lost both my composure and confidence and did not have an idea on where to start working on the coil. I therefore had to cool off my mind for a moment so that I could get everything as the assignment required me to. After a few minutes of trying to relax and regain my calm, I felt more composed and decided it was time to start working on the coil. I first assembled the tools that I needed. These included Potters’ needles, wire cutter, brushes for carrying slip, loop for trimming, and, of course, a working board. I then cleared the working board of all dried clay and ensured that it was dry. A dirty working board would result into poor results and undesired stains on the finished work. I did not want this to happen to my coil. I then cut the amount of clay I needed using the wire cutter. After this, I made the clay into a ball, pressed and wedged it to ensure no air bubbles were present. Air bubbles would develop cracks on the finished product and I felt that poor appearance of my work would show incompetency and poor judgement. I then molded it into a ball and rolled it into ribbons of the desired size. During this time, I had to keep making and remaking the ribbons to get the correct length and breadth. I then made slip of the consistency I desired and joined the various ribbons using the slip to create the shape of my coil.
Like any other learned skill, I encountered small unforeseen problems and frustrations. One such difficulty that I encountered was a hairline crack in the clay. However, the cracks were easily repairable. I learnt a few critical rules that one must follow to achieve results when working with clay. It is imperative that one works out the air bubble in the clay while it is still moist and repairs the cracks immediately one sees them. I also learnt that it is paramount to keep the clay moist by continuously adding water to it and if by any chance the clay becomes too moist, one just needs to dry it a bit. Balancing the water in the clay was critical in developing desirable clay artifacts. I also learnt that not everything is in a clay worker’s control. After hours of tiresomely working on my coil, it was finally the time to dry it. It is at this point that I realized that I really had no control over what would happen to it at this stage. All I had to do was to sit and hope that all went as planned. Though it is exceedingly rare for things to go wrong at the drying stage, the anticipation created by the fact that there was a slight chance for things to go wrong was exciting. Luckily, everything went alright, and I now have my beautiful coil, the fruit of my handiwork.
All the hurdles I encountered notwithstanding, I found working with clay to be a great fun. It was awe-inspiring to see myself create a beautiful piece of art from the formless lump of clay. Of all the forms of art I have been able to crate over time, I found molding with clay the most affordable and versatile. To me, working with clay was relaxing and also a great stress reliever. It can be a constructive hobby to be undertaken after a long day. It can also be vital in sharpening concentration as every step in the making of the coil required utmost concentration and dedication. Through making this coil, I got an invaluable introduction to modeling with clay. From the experience, I learnt that working with clay may be among the most enjoyable ways of making fine works of art.