The Crafty Shrimp

My crafting adventures in fabric, clay and more…

Personal espresso time and a language lesson June 19, 2008

Filed under: Pottery,Switzerland — Eva @ 6:02 pm
Tags: ,

Everyone has their own rituals in the morning whilst waking up….but from the no breakfasters via the cereal and fruit people to the fry fanatics, many enjoy a lovely cup of coffee in the morning. My preference is a nice fluffy cappucchino but my brother for example prefers a strong espresso to give the day a kick start. So when he decided to move in with his girlfriend (yeah!!), I made these two personalized cups as their housewarming present. They were inspired by some cups I saw in Bon Marche on our Paris trip Iast September and I used a stamp set from Muji (bought that trip) to put their names on the spoons and “espresso” on the cups.

These are still leftover projects from my old pottery class (and there are still some more to follow) but a few weeks ago I found a new one! It’s just around the corner from my home, the teacher makes beautiful stuff and is not only intent on teaching me pottery but German as well! And it’s working really well, sometimes it’s a bit of a struggle but as the teacher also speaks English and French we generally work it out. I think it’s really a fabulous way to practice the language, learn a new skill and meet some new people. I’ve talked about this briefly before and wanted to emphasize the point as I had some comments about it in a previous post.

I guess my family has always had to learn languages. Before my brother and I were born, my parents moved from the Netherlands to France for my Dad’s job. Whilst he was working, my Mum was trying to learn the language, make friends and also find a job. She joined several courses and clubs, all in French and slowly, through cooking courses and flower identifying walks, learned the language and made friends. So I would definitely recommend anyone to join something like this. Many foreigners here often complain that it’s hard to meet the local Swiss people but I always think this is quite unfair as they often also don’t speak German or French. We can not expect everyone to speak English (well, or feel comfortable speaking it all the time) and therefore will have to make a bigger effort ourselves learning the local language. But once you do, you will find many lovely, funny, genuine and loyal friends.


2 Responses to “Personal espresso time and a language lesson”

  1. India Says:

    I am feeling inspired to try pottery- have you any tips about what makes a good class for a beginner?

  2. Eva Says:

    Wow, that’s a tough one. I don’t have that much experience with this so am no expert but I can just tell you about the different classes I’ve been to and what my experiences are.

    The first class I took was in Dundee and taught by a friend of mine who was a potter. She was running them (very cheaply) in her own studio, we were a very mixed bunch of students with different interest and were basically left free but there was some guidance if we wanted. Never clear projects/teaching though (I also took two short courses at the college there and that was pretty much the same setup/program).

    The second class was the English one in Basel (I found this in the newletter from a local expat association-centrepoint) and you’ve seen the output from that course on the blog. It was a beautiful big place and she had lots of fabulous glazes. Initially we started with 4 new people so we did set projects and went through the various techniques (although very brief). After that we were left to our own devices, again with advice if you needed (and you could get the teachers attention-which i found quite frustrating). Output here was very high but I always felt I didn’t quite make what I set out to.

    The third one is my current one – this is a pottery around the corner from where I live and as I always liked the pieces in the window, I went in one day and it turned out the owner taught classes. At the start of each class sit together as a group and briefly discuss what everyone is doing that evening and possible problems/ideas etc. I find this quite useful/interesting as I think you learn a lot from other peoples issues and hearing how to tackle them and it give you a lot of ideas. The class is much more skill based making the output smaller but I do have the feeling I’m “mastering” a technique.

    I think an important thing is to decide what you want from the classes. Do you want to learn a bit, create things and end up with nice pieces at home, then I think either of the first two classes are great. However, I personally found it quite frustrating as I really wanted to learn. From making the bowl I had in mind, being able to use any technique confidently to how you “run a studio” as I would love to have my own space some time in the future.

    For that this current class is much better as we’re learning everything from recycling clay to stacking kilns and more. But as said the output is quite low as I’m constantly trashing failures and cutting pieces up to learn from mistakes (not a bad thing as our kitchen cupboards are overflowing with bowls, plates and more!).

    My advice was be to ask around at local studios if they teach classes (often they know of places that do), then in Basel there is also a ceramics shop/supplier that has courses. These places always have lots of information. Also, I would discuss the language issue with them and say you are happy to follow a class in german but wether they speak english in case of confusion. I sometimes find that I just don’t get something in german and then it’s very helpful to be able to switch to a more familiar language.
    Good luck and let me know if you need any more help/info

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