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Wheel Throwing Techniques

For some people, throwing clay on the potter's wheel can be addictive. If you are one of those people, you have come to the right place. Here, professional studio potters provide instruction as well as inspiration for anyone wanting to learn, improve and master wheel throwing techniques. Browse these articles and videos for helpful information such topics as altering wheel thrown vessels or trimming large platters with complex rims. And, if you haven't already, be sure to download your free copy of Five Great Pottery Wheel Throwing Techniques: Tips on Throwing Complex Pottery Forms Using Basic Throwing Skills, which includes detailed well-illustrated, step-by-step pottery making projects by nationally known potters, teachers and workshop presenters.


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Deliberate Cracks: Heating and Stretching to Create Crackled Texture on Pottery

Posted On July 27, 2015 10 Comments

Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong era because I just love old things: antiques, weathered old buildings, vintage clothing. If you can relate, then you’ll love today’s feature because we’re going to show you how to create a crackled, craggy texture on your pottery. Canadian potter Robin Hopper explains how some heating, some stretching and a little sodium silicate can transform a freshly thrown pot into what looks like a weathered antique.

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Two Techniques for Making Swirlware Pottery

Posted On July 17, 2015 2 Comments
Swirlware, a traditional form of pottery made in the Catawba Valley of North Carolina in the early 1900s, is made by combining contrasting clay bodies when throwing. Michael Kline makes swirlware and other historical North Carolina pottery forms, but puts his own contemporary touch on the work.   In today’s video, an excerpt from his… Read More »
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Three Tips for Throwing Smarter and Stronger

Posted On July 13, 2015 14 Comments

There have been many times in my wheel throwing career that I have thought, “I just can’t throw large pots. I am not strong enough.” But I have learned over the years that to throw big, you don’t need brawn. You need brains!! There are tons of smart ways to approach throwing large. In today’s post, an excerpt from the May/June 2013 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, I am sharing three great tips for throwing large from potter Claire O’Conner. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Make a Square Baking Dish and Fill it with Rhubarb Crisp

Posted On June 15, 2015 6 Comments

In my neck of the woods, it’s the time of year when rhubarb starts peeking up through the cold ground. So when I saw Sumi von Dassow’s article on how to make a baker for rhubarb crisp going into the March/April 2013 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, I knew I had to share it. In this post, Sumi demonstrates how she makes her lovely square baking dishes (that are great for any type of baked dessert – not just rhubarb!). Plus she shares a recipe for rhubarb crisp from the lovely Sarah Jaeger! – Jennifer Harnetty editor.

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Bowl Making Turned Upside-Down

Posted On June 8, 2015 0 Comments

Throwing large bowls has been something that has dogged me for quite some time. There’s a certain size bowl that I just cannot seem to get past and while it’s ample, it is not necessarily what I would call large.

 

So I really like Martina Lantin’s bowl making process, which literally turns the typical bowl making technique on its head. In today’s post, Martina shares her upside-down bowl technique. Not only does this technique make larger bowls more achievable, but it opens the doors for adding gestural qualities as well. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

 

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How to Dress up a Wheel Thrown Bowl with Curves

Posted On May 29, 2015 5 Comments

The cereal bowl selection at my house consists mainly of all of my reject bowls from over the years. It’s a motley crew of old, wonky pieces that make me want to reach for the nearest sledgehammer every time I open the cupboard. So I am on a mission: to replace them with more recent work that is finally feeling a bit more resolved and successful. So since I am bowl obsessed, I thought I would share an inspirational bowl video. In this clip, an excerpt from her DVD Creating Curves with Clay (which is now available ad a digital download!), Martha Grover demonstrates how she dresses up a basic ice cream or cereal bowl with curves inspired by orchids and flowing dresses. Enjoy! 

 

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Two Fun and Simple Ways to Alter the Rims of Wheel Thrown Plates

Posted On May 15, 2015 3 Comments

Altering forms is a great way to put your own personal touch on them. Jennifer Allen started her exploration of altering pots on plates and mug forms.

In today’s post, an excerpt from her new video Darted and Decorated: Techniques for Enhancing Form and Surface, Jen shares two altering techniques for wheel-thrown plates. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Whack Flat Planes into Your Wheel Thrown Pottery

Posted On May 13, 2015 0 Comments

Paul Linhares was introduced to paddling work when watching Yixing teapot makers use paddles to skillfully shape clay slabs into beautiful pots. Years later when he wanted to make a bottle shaped like a fish, he remembered the Yixing potters and decided to use a paddle on his wheel thrown work.

 

In today’s post, an excerpt from the May/June issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, Paul shares his techniques for paddling wheel thrown forms into shapes that are perfect fur surface decoration. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Throw a Large Serving Bowl in a Bisque Mold

Posted On May 1, 2015 7 Comments

I have tried many different approaches to throwing bowls, but until filming Lisa Orr’s video (which makes its debut today!), I had never thought to throw a bowl in a bisque mold. Lisa uses this technique so that she can carve low-relief decoration into the mold, which then shows up on the outside of the bowl she makes. To better explain, here’s today’s clip of Lisa making the mold and then throwing a bowl in it. I can’t wait to play around with this idea. Hope you like it as much as I do! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Cutting and Pasting to Create New Pottery Forms

Posted On April 27, 2015 10 Comments

Shana Salaff prefers to design new forms by cutting and pasting components and playing around until she arrives at a form she likes. Sometimes she even goes back to shapes that she thinks she is too comfortable with and deliberately messes with them to see what happens.

 

This playful approach helped her to develop her “Cut-Rim Plates.” In today’s post, Shana explains how she cuts a wheel-thrown plate into a square and then uses the scraps to create a fresh and interesting rim.–Jennifer Harnetty, editor.