Home Hobby & Crafts Art of Making Pottery: How to Use a Pottery Wheel

Art of Making Pottery: How to Use a Pottery Wheel

by Elizabeth N. Wilson

So, you have an idea of how the perfect pot, set of plates or cups should look, and making them yourself is better than buying them. Yes, going to the nearest store is an easy option, but the satisfaction of adding your touch is priceless. The art of making pottery has evolved, and when you master how to spin the pottery wheel like a pro, you’re good to go!

What is Pottery?

The term could have different meanings depending on the context.

  • The process of making pots from scratch.
  • Pots made with clay, by hand.
  • A room where pots are made.

Guidelines on Using the Pottery Wheel

A spinning wheel is an essential tool when making pots or clay objects. Your body should, therefore, be in harmony with the wheel. Subsequently, to get your desired outcome, several factors must be considered. Visualize the function, shape, color, and size of the item you want to make then choose the clay.

The act of throwing clay on the spinning wheel is quite addictive. What is even better is being celebrated at it; then you will be addicted to something you’ve perfected. First and foremost, make it a mission and learn how to center the clay. It might cost you one or two nights in your studio, but do not give up. Wheel throwing is a not so complicated lesson, and knowing it well pays off.

Forming the Lump

Wheel throwing is just the first step of several more. After the clay is well set, ensure the spinning wheel is revolving at a relatively high speed. Grease it, then carefully cover your hands around the mud. You can pick whichever side for stability. Use the tip of your dominant thumb and gently create a depression at the top. For a few minutes, feel how the rotating soon to be vessel is therapeutic.

Pour some water into the small hollow while digging more in-depth with your thumb. The result should be a V-like opening in the middle of the dimple. Keep doing this till your thumps are half an inch away from the head of the wheel. For more heavy clay, use both your first and second fingers.

The Thickness of the Bottom

How thick the bottom of your vessel should be is totally upon you. For beginners, it is better to check the width at this point. After developing accurate sensitivity for the art, you can do this later. Get your needle and pierce it through the inside bottom of your project and stop when it comes to contact with the head.

Slide your finger down the hole and remove the needle. If you are not trimming the bottom, a quarter-inch thickness is suitable. Otherwise, measure at most half an inch.

The Clawing Process

Broadening the bottom helps make a more beautiful pot. You have to reduce the spinning speed at this stage. Use your sponge to draw some water and spill it onto the lump of clay. As you widen the bottom, ensure you level it to perfection. Avoid applying too much pressure downwards; it causes an elevated lump that is so irritating.

On the other hand, lifting your fingers too high causes a massive depression on the inside bottom.

P.S. During the clawing process, the rush movements are likely to cause pressure on one side of the clay. The process can only be avoided by ensuring your hand movements are precise. Additionally, if you centered the mud rightly the first time, recentering is unnecessary.

Dealing with the Walls: The Doughnut Stage

This is among the last steps to complete your project. Wrap your hands across the vessel and clasp your fingers- referred to as the caliper position. Curve your fingertips inwardly very slightly to have control of the pinning mass of clay. Afterwards, twist your wrists as your elbows lay on your thighs or pushed in touching your chest. This gives you control of every movement.

When lifting the walls, your fingers pull all the strings. Leave very gradual spiral marks up the side of the clay. Apply force from the lowermost part but do not thin any portion of the vessel. The spinning wheel is one of the most remarkable inventions in the pottery world. The stimulating technique is outstanding and uses your hands to make you one with the lump of clay.

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