Deb Taylor is a founder of little white dish, the dynamic pottery studio that turns out our hand thrown hanging pots. Robin Powell asked her a few questions.
You’re a passionate archer as well as an accomplished potter. Are the two skills connected?
I think they are connected. I liken the pot to an arrow. In both throwing something on the wheel and in shooting an arrow you are creating a template with your body and head. The speed of the wheel forces the clay to go into shape; and in the same way you set your body into the right position for the arrow to fly. You should be able to do both with your eyes closed, using muscle memory and feel.
Could you really throw a pot with you eyes closed?
Absolutely. I don’t, but I can. One year in the studio we had a throwing Olympics. Everyone was blindfolded and there were different competitions against the clock –tallest pot, widest pot and so on. That was great fun.
Is Throwing Olympics really a thing?
No, that was a one-off, but I used to put people I taught into teams and give them a challenge to make a pot in, say, five minutes. It helps overcome nerves in front of strangers and the terrors some people feel in front of a lump of clay on the wheel.
You used to teach at East Sydney Community College. Where do you teach now?
I do one-on-one, or small groups, or corporate classes at the studio. When you watch a potter at the wheel, it looks like the easiest thing in the world. But when you sit down at the wheel with a lump of clay, it’s not. It’s wonderful to take people through the process of learning and watch them progress.