We had a large block growing up, and trucks would come along and take sand; we were left with a big hole in the ground about 3 meters deep and 10 meters long roughly, exposing a clay deposit in the earth.
Still in primary school and bored to death, I used to play for hours in this mud/clay pit, especially after it rained. Usually, by myself, I was making terracotta-coloured mud balls. I used to sneak away and then sneak back into the house covered in mud from head to toe to have a shower straight away. There must have been mud tracks, but knowing my mum, she would have thought my dad was coming in from the garden or one of the other five kids.
No one knew where I was, and thinking back, if it were my kid, I would never let them do this; what if a wall collapsed.
The sensory sensation of squeezing clay was what I craved; it was like melted chocolate with bits of grit all through it sliming through your fingers. On sunny days you would let it dry out until it started to crack off off my skin. It was a sad day when it got filled in, and to fill the gap, I then began to dream of the missing slimy clay sensation.
Today 40 years later, I finally start a pottery class, and it's like a duck to water.
All those sensations come flooding back through throwing clay on a wheel, and feeling that oozing muddy sense is gratifying.
It's a bit of a shock to the system finding out there is so much to know, different types of clay, glaze/ underglaze, building techniques and getting it to stay on the wheel without it flying off. Then there's the firing and how hot the kiln needs to be and how many times you need to fire it. Some potters don't even use a kiln; it's a smouldering fire in the ground instead; pieces are placed in the hot ashes and covered up and left overnight.
Hand building is fun, and I often create a bust with a hole at the top of the head, like a vase.
I've sold a few pieces already, but I'm going to keep the 1st piece I ever made.
My bust ( from the chest up) always turn out looking like they are from the same family. They are big-eyed and have lush lips.
If you have any enquire on pottery email Lmanea@iinet.net.au