Friday, May 6, 2011


Hi there world, it's frrrriiiday! I have had such a weird sleep schedule this week, that all I can think about it "yay, I don't have to wake up early tomorrow." Except - I am planning on going to the Irvine Fine Arts Center early in the a.m. to do some throwing. the IFAC is the very first place I ever did any ceramics work on the wheel. We went with my Girl Scout troop when I was about 12 years old. I remember being so excited to do this - I've always loved mud and clay - and I was so excited that I put a very full bucket of water on TOP of the wheel, and then pressed the foot pedal. The water flew EVERYWHERE. I was so embarrassed. Try #2 went much smoother.

The next year I enrolled in the ceramics class at Cypress College, where legendary Char Felos was teacher. Ceramics was one of those things that came as easy to me as breathing. I remember the 1st week we were learning to center, and Jim, an advanced student would come up behind me as soon as I got it, and "thump" the clay off center. He'd do this again, and again, and again - and I really think that's how I learned to center so fast.

They called me speed-demon (because of my love of throwing with the wheel going way way way too fast), copper-girl (because of my, uhm, enthusiastic use of copper powder at the beach firings), and I loved it. I grew up there. I was 13 when I started, and stayed there for years. Maybe 8? I ended up getting my first real job at Laguna Clay Co. thanks to one of the Cypress lab techs. I also ended up working at the Cypress Studio as a lab tech for one semester as well. They gave me a key to the ceramics lab. I remember throwing by myself in the studio til 2am.

I remember it in texture - how slimy lotion felt after a day throwing clay, the buttery feel of Southern Ice (drool-worthy porcelain from new zealand - translucent at cone 5), the cold gray taste of soldate 60 (how do you think air gets into bottles to make them expand?), the heat of the firey backlash from the raku barrels, the grip of the tongs when I was loading the raku kiln, the cold gritty glaze up to my elbows when I was mixing them in the big trashcans...

It's where I learned to love Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and Sarah MacClaughlan. It's where I learned how to journal thoughtfully. It's where I learned about ideal communities and personal responsibility.

I haven't seen many ceramics folks lately, although we have been reconnecting through facebook a little bit. The best friend I ever made there just had a baby, and it blows my mind. The last time I saw Char was at Jon Danner's funeral. Danner started the same semester I did, and we shared a locker for much of the time. He was one of my mentors - and could throw the largest sized vessels of anyone I knew. He married another ceramic student, and they had a baby boy. Danner always asked me to sing Adia, and made me one of my favorite tools (a sponge on the end of a long stick. haha. yes). When I arrived at the church for his funeral, his wife laughed and choked and said "oh Roya, you got big!"

Anyways. Ceramics was a huge part of my development and how I became who I am. There was a long time when I had a hard time doing ceramics anywhere else - after Char retired I was just SAD anytime I was in a ceramic studio that wasn't hers. It's been years now, and I can enjoy going to the Irvine Fine Arts Center - because I still do love the actual hands-in-clay-making-cups-in-stuff process. But there was nothing like Char's class, and never will be.

And now, for your viewing enjoyment - a picture that has nothing to do with ceramics at all (I did not make the cup in the photo). A cup full of earrings!


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