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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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How to Throw a Lightweight Graceful Pitcher on the Pottery Wheel

Posted On November 10, 2014 6 Comments

One of the biggest challenges when learning to throw is often getting the clay at the base of the pot up into the form. Not overcoming this challenge results in tons of clay to trim off in the trimming stage and or a clunky heavy pot.

With pitchers, this heaviness can be a real problem because they are meant to carry a large volume of liquid. Glenn Woods came up with a way of avoiding this extra clay at the bottom, which resulted in a more graceful form and a lighter pitcher. He shares this technique in today’s post.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

 

PS. For a printer-friendly version of this article and several more, download your free copy of Five Great Pottery Wheel Throwing Techniques: Tips on Throwing Complex Pottery Forms Using Basic Throwing Skills.

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Rhythm and Repetition: A Step-By-Step Guide to Making Multiples

Posted On November 5, 2014 0 Comments

Making multiples is a common and challenging endeavor for potters. To successfully accomplish this task, you need to have a well considered plan of attack. Sean O’Connell figured out a great system for making multiples when he was the “Salad Days” resident at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. In this residency he had to make 500 plates for the center’s annual fundraiser.

 

In today’s post, an excerpt from the November/December 2014 issue of Pottery Making illustrated, Sean shares the insights he gained and techniques he used to pull off this feat.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Pottery Video of the Week: Mark Peters Demonstrates his Unconventional Lid-Making Technique

Posted On October 31, 2014 12 Comments

Mark Peters is a master of thinking outside the box when it comes to making pots, and developed his lid-making technique so he could do similar surface treatments on his jars and lids. In today’s post, an excerpt from Mark’s awesome DVD Lively Forms and Expressive Surfaces, Mark demonstrates his super cool lid making process.

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Making Lidded Jars That Work Together Like a Happy Marriage

Posted On October 22, 2014 1 Comment

I haven’t made a jar in a while and when I saw Bill Wilkey’s article in the November December 2014 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, I remembered how much I enjoy making them. It is a fun exercise to make two-part pieces and find ways to make the components hang together visually.

 

Bill’s jars do this perfectly. From the soft squaring off of both the jar and lid, to the slightly arching rim that echoes the arches on the feet of the jar, every detail is considered to make a cohesive whole. In today’s post, Bill walks us through his jar-making process.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

 

PS. To see Bill’s decorating technique, check out the November/December 2014 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated!

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How to Throw a Large Serving Bowl in a Bisque Mold

Posted On October 17, 2014 3 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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Put Your Pottery on a Pedestal: Throwing in Two Parts on the Pottery Wheel to Add Interest to a Catch-All Bowl

Posted On October 15, 2014 16 Comments

In today’s post, Frank James Fisher shares his technique for throwing in two parts to make what he calls a petal bowl because of the flower-like rim treatment.

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Tips for Centering and Preventing S-Cracks in Dinner Plates

Posted On October 9, 2014 0 Comments

Throwing large plate forms is tricky because it can be hard to master centering and spreading the clay out wide enough without either knocking it off center, or getting water trapped underneath. Then there are S-cracks. If you don’t take steps to prevent those, you might be devastated when your plate comes out of the kiln.

 

If you have experienced these problems, pull up a chair and watch today’s clip from our new platters compilation. In this clip, Adam shows how to master centering and preventing s-cracks in plates. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Make a Tagine

Posted On September 29, 2014 6 Comments

A few years ago a friend of mine had us over for dinner and served one of the most delicious dishes I had ever had. It was a tagine (traditional Moroccan dish named after the ceramic pot it is cooked in) and my mouth waters just thinking of it. Since my husband is an excellent cook, I have often thought about making a tagine for him. And after flipping through our latest book release In the Potters Kitchen, I might just get around to it sooner rather than later. Today, I am sharing the excerpt from In the Potters Kitchem that is inspiring me. Plus a recipe for a Shrimp Tagine. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor. 

 

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How to Create a Beautiful Lobed Rim on a Wheel Thrown Plate

Posted On September 19, 2014 4 Comments

Plates have to be one of my favorite pottery forms to make. I love the big open canvas for decoration and the fact that they can double as wall art if you so desire. Because they are so much fun, though also deceptively challenging, we decided to put together a compilation of plate-making techniques from several different artists. In today’s post, I am sharing an excerpt in which Forrest Lesch-Middelton demonstrates a great way to make a beautiful altered rim on a large plate. Gorgeous. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Throw an Oblong Bowl on the Potters Wheel

Posted On July 30, 2014 9 Comments

We recently featured a square baking dish project on the blog (with a rhubarb crisp recipe too!), but today I thought I would point out that you can use that technique to make all shapes and sizes of baking dishes or bowls. In this post Richard Phethean shows how he makes an asymmetric bowl in a similar way. I really like how he contrasted the asymmetric shape in the finished pot (at left) with a spiral mark on the floor of the pot. Have a look and then see what kind of shapes you can come up with. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.