One evening, Fred asked me to meet him after work in the Zhongshan area. He had a surprise for me. I had a hunch it might be a pottery class, probably at the Museum of Contemporary Art which was in that area. But my suspicions were dispelled when we headed into the shady little lanes off the main street. So curious!
The studio, when we found it, was a pleasant surprise. It is tucked away on one of the many unassuming, non-descript Taipei lanes with no sign, lighting, paintwork, nothing to distinguish it from anything else. It is not big inside, but the space is used economically and comfortably. Everything has its place. The walls are lined with shelves of work in various stages of completion. There are three pottery wheels, a kiln, a sink, bins of clay and glazes, and a work table.
We spoke with the teacher and got a run down on how the classes worked. Simply, you could come in once a week and work on whatever project you wished. He would walk you through the process. He suggested starting with the basic pinch pot and working toward throwing pots on the wheel. This was exactly what I wanted. The only problem was that he couldn't speak English. So Fred was roped into coming along as well. We signed up there and then, and started our classes a week later.
We've been attending our classes for a couple of months now. It is a welcome escape from the tedium and toil of the working week. Just last week, Fred took home our first completed piece, a vase. For an absolute beginner I'm impressed with his skill.
Fred's first two pieces were a mug and bowl using the pinch pot method. Great shape for only using his fingers and thumbs.
Finished pieces set out to dry.
I made a tea set for my first piece. I am in Taiwan, after all.
The tricky part, attaching the spout.