Happy Potter world traveler

Nepal man makes drinking cups.

Nepal man makes drinking cups.

Trish Arnold

Our president, Jan Marx, and her husband took a trip to India and Nepal March 22 through April 11 of this year. They traveled with 15 people on their tour (the maximum is 16) with Overseas Adventure Travel, a division of Grand Circle Travel. They went because they wanted to see what the country was like, and they found out quickly that everything they had been told about India and Nepal was not true. Jan said she was surprised by how happy, hopeful and warm the Indian people were there. Even though the cities were dirty with trash on the streets, the people appeared to be clean and hard working. Everything was very hectic there, Jan said, with noisy motorcycles, bicycles, cows and pigs in the streets, which was a bit overwhelming at times and presented a challenge getting around. Jan and her husband said they wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Here is Jan’s report in her own words:

To Throw or Not, Here It’s an Option. There, Not So Much

Jan Marx

No one said that pottery would be on the tour, but thanks to both our Overseas Adventure Travel guides in India and Nepal, we visited potters and watched them work. And I mean work! Our Happy Potters sports three electric pottery-throwing wheels. If a member wants to make a pot he/she takes a lump of clay to the wheel, presses the switch and creates a dish. One morning in Abhaneri, India, after a brief walk dodging cows along a dusty lane, we were ushered into a family’s courtyard. At one end a woman squatted, making bread, called Naan. At the other end, a man with a long board pushed his pottery wheel around until it whirred rapidly. Putting the board aside he squatted by the wheel which held a huge lump of clay and made delicate drinking cups. Called “throwing off the hump” the method doesn’t require replacing clay every time a pot is made, and throwing goes quickly. The cups are fired in a wood kiln, so neither is electricity needed there. A larger production was found in a square in Bhaktapur, Nepal, where with the same method a potter made piggy banks and other vessels. It was a reminder of how much easier we have it here. Of course in the pottery studio one doesn’t need to “throw” beautiful pottery. We enjoy many options. Maybe you’d like to explore making a set of dishes or a sculpture where creativity flourishes. You are welcome to come see what we do on Mondays and Thursdays in the Winecup Room in the Creative Arts and Technology Center.