Potter Spotlight: The Grand Experiment

Connecting, Exploring and Sharing

What a joy it has been for me and over 30 potters to explore together. Rather than teach how to make my pots we have embarked on a journey of new techniques and form exploration together.

The format of my online classes is a grand experiment. Can we learn, explore, question and discuss while using an online platform when clay is so tactile and visual?

The goals:
1. Learning to see: discerning elements like balance, shadow, integrated design and negative space.
2. Honing our skill set
3. Problem solving
4. Use what we have discovered to launch into our own cool and original pots

I cannot speak for everyone but many of my students have expressed their surprise as to how successful this has been for them.

Here are a few potter’s comments who choose to be in our “Pots That Pour Online Exhibition” following our class.

Anne Lythgoe, Columbus, OH, SFA Mentoring and Student

“The Pots That Pour online class was a challenging experience for me. Sarah is a gifted potter whose command of the clay made it easy for her to describe what she was doing, and for me to understand it. Not every instructor has that gift! The technical aspects of moving clay, of solving problems as they come up, and so many little secrets that Sarah shared, have change the way I throw. I’ll never look at my own pots in the same way again.” – Anne Lythgoe, Columbus, Ohio (image shown above)

Gema Viscay-Barrena, Bedford, United-Kingdom

“I first came across Sarah’s courses by chance, when I saw one of her signature pieces (The Ewer).  I was so amazed that I wanted to learn how she made it and so I joined one of her 2 hour long online demonstration workshops. The way she taught the workshop was superb. Being online I didn’t think it would be very involved, but I was actually surprised by how good the session was and the quality of the teaching material and support she provided, which helped me practice further on my own at home.  So, when I saw that she was advertising a new 6-week long live online class (Pots that Pour) it was a no-brainer, I had to join because I knew that I was up for a treat! And it didn’t disappoint, as expected!!
Over the last year, I have taken part in several of her online courses, and I feel that I’ve learned through them more than I ever did in previous face-to-face courses I attended locally. Her teaching style is very engaging and inspirational. She pushes you (without you even noticing it) to develop your skills and make better pots than you ever thought you could make. The way she shares her wealth of knowledge and how generous she is with her time and the advice she offers makes this experience truly exceptional. I feel very lucky to have found her and TVPCC, and even from the other side of the pond I feel as well taken care of as one of her local students”
– Gema Vizcay-Barrena, Bedford, United Kingdom

I have discovered that I feel really connected to my students and with some we have developed friendships beyond the class setting. I also have explored techniques to teach that now are being integrated into my body of work. We are truly sharing this experience. Seeing these potter’s progress has, frankly, been remarkable. As we have shared these classes I have concluded that this grand experiment is a grand success.

Click the link to view the Pots that Pour online exhibition:

Sarah Wells Rolland


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