One of the charms about Melbourne is the substantial variety of short courses available where you can easily learn something new.
A characteristic of Melbourne that many people take advantage of. Even a Canadian friend of mine is taking a class on Reiki Healing starting this weekend.
With all these people taking classes, these days I too have been wanting to learn something new.
Ms Matsuya who is learning pottery tells us about her experiences.
Pottery? You mean like… pottery? Is that foreign? Thats actually kinda interesting.
Whenever you say you're learning pottery in Australia that's usually the kind of response you get. But people learning pottery in Japan say it's cheaper and easier to learn it here than it is in Japan.
The course that I'm taking is a pottery course (using an electric potters wheel) at Monash University's Short Course Centre at the Clayton campus.
There are 7-8 classes in one term, but you can also enter a term halfway.
To me, pottery is kind of like playing in the mud for adults. But it's also a little therapeutic.
Step on the pedal to get the wheel turning, then knead and press down on the ball of clay repeatedly focusing on the centre of the wheel. Ease up on the rotation pedal and gently mould the clay surface as you smooth it out.
The surface is muddy, with water and clay mixed together. As you feel the sensation of the clay softening bit by bit, whilst carefully adding water again and again to the clays surface, you focus on the nerves in the tips of your fingers, as if to tell the clay what form you want it to take.
As the clay glides through your hands its shape changes greatly with only the slightest of finger strength or the use of tools.
Your state of mind and physical condition comes through into your work more than you think.
I learnt the basics by watching and following the teachers demonstrations, so I didn't have to worry about understanding the English too much, which was a relief.
As the teacher creates a shape that makes you gasp they would joke saying "Sorry, I make it look easy when I do it."
Of course when you try to do it yourself it never turns out the same as the teachers, but it's still fun.
Something thats even more strange, is that even when I try to make the same thing as the teacher, for some reason mine becomes more Japanese.
Recently something that I have taken a particular interest in is engraving works made on the potters wheel.
What got me started on this was getting taught how to engrave things like the works the teacher made.
My classmates are respectively taught the the different techniques they are interested in, so seeing all their different works is also a pleasure.
Not only are there courses for adults (focusing on sculptures and wheel), but there are also kids courses, and courses for parents and their children to do together.
The works from the kids courses that are placed in the classroom are also very cute. There are a lot of works that are a lot of fun just to look at.
This pottery course is actually very rare, and has an affordable fee.
Costs like rental of tools, clay, enamel, and firing are all included in the course fees so you don't have to worry about paying extra.