Ginny Cornrow Workshop

Ginny Cornrow Workshop 1

Quite a few late dropouts from the enrollment list made for a class of only seven at this weekend workshop – which was a great number for those who did attend!

Ginny alternates her time between studios in Seattle and Mexico and her photos of each looked quite idyllic. Her opening slide show demonstrated her mastery of a range of forms, all of which are conceived with an idea of how they will interact with the crystalline glazes.

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Ginny first demonstrated her preparation of slabs for subsequent manipulation into trays, platters and vase forms, often laying them over shape-formers of rolled-up plastic, cloth or towelling. She emphasised the need to wait for the right degree of soft leather-hardness before attempting to handwork the clay to minimise the risk of collapse. She also demonstrated the forming of a cylinder from a slab, to be altered later into a gracefully sinuous standing vessel. While the slabs dried she took to the wheel and threw a variety of forms for subsequent modification, sometimes using a canvas mat between the pot and the batt to facilitate separating the work from the batt without recourse to a cut-off wire (worked beautifully).

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At later stages we witnessed the transformation of these basic forms by simple but very skillful manipulation with fingers, ribs and pottery knife, producing delicately curved edges to bowls, sinuous curving bulges to vessels and flowing, asymmetric openings. She paid great attention to the rhythm and cadence of these curves and stressed the importance she places on having a mirror behind the piece, when hand-building as well as when throwing, in order to see the whole form as it is being modified. A highlight for me was to see the confident way in which she joined two pre-cut and roughly-shaped slabs to make one of her characteristic elliptical vase forms, which she stretched out from inside and modified the opening with a few deft slices of the knife.

There was much discussion of crystalline glazes (and Ginny was generous with provision of her favourite recipes) and the weekend concluded with a demonstration of glazing with spray gun and airbrush, followed by a short practice session. Ginny had so much to show and discuss that there was little time for hands-on activity but no-one seemed to mind!