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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.

Wheel Throwing Video: A Tall Order – Throwing a Massive Vase on the Pottery Wheel

Posted On December 19, 2008 2 Comments

Since we were already thinking big this week (see Wednesday’s post on Morten Løbner Espersen’s largescale ceramic art installation), I thought today’s video would be a fitting one. It comes to us all the way from Gaya Ceramic Designs in Bali, Indonesia. Potter Marcello Massoni demonstrates how he produces huuuuuuuuge vases on the pottery wheel by throwing them in sections (and he makes it look so easy!).

And since there is no narration on this video, below we’ve posted further explanation of the process in the form of step-by-step instruction. Check out the video and the step-by-step, then try a tall order of your own! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

Wheel Throwing Video: Matt Long’s Bourbon Bottle

Posted On December 5, 2008 0 Comments

I know what you’re thinking; Sherman just wanted to run this video clip because he likes bourbon. Well, that may be a fact, but it’s not the only reason I find this clip interesting. It also happens to be informative and educational. And look at that slip texture! Watching Matt slip these bottles is like watching a tightrope walker—too much or too little just won’t work. And there’s a lot more where this came from on Matt’s full DVD Vessels for Victory: Line, Gesture and Movement. We all can use a little victory now and then. — Sherman Hall, Ceramic Arts Daily

Hip to be Square: Making Squared Casseroles

Posted On November 26, 2008 6 Comments

Do you ever feel like you’re just watching the wheel spin? Around and around go the pots, and off the wheel they go to the drying shelf, only to dry round, be bisque fired round, be glazed round—you see the pattern. But no longer!
Now, I’m not going to say that making square pots from the wheel is easy, even though Mike and Karen Baum make it look easy, but I will say that it can become easy, especially if you follow their simple instructions presented here. For a bit more depth, check out the expanded version of this article that was published in the November/December 2008 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated. Heck, while you’re at it, you may want to subscribe. You know what they say; be there or be…well, not round anyway.

Wheel Throwing Video: Making an Ugly Mug

Posted On October 17, 2008 1 Comment

Have you ever set out to make something ugly on purpose? It can be pretty liberating. It’s a great way to remove restrictions and experiment—and you may just end up with something that is not, in fact, ugly. Dave Henry, of previous CAD video fame, provides a great way to get started with a simple mug project that you can easily tailor to your own studio, tools and imagination.

In addition to the video, we’ve put together a series of images depicting the process. They may lack the smooth, relaxing tones of Dave’s voice, but they are a nice snapshot for quick reference. Enjoy!—Sherman Hall, Ceramic Arts Daily

Wheel Throwing Video: Matt Long – Making a Hip Flask on the Potters Wheel

Posted On September 5, 2008 0 Comments

Today we bring you another video clip from Matt Long off of his full-length DVD Matt Long: Vessels for Victory. In this clip, Matt demonstrates how to make a hip flask. In addition to clearly explaining how the form is constructed, Matt delves into his design considerations and motivations. For example, when considering the shape of this flask form, he decided he wanted “the form to look like it’s kind of drunk” – perfect for a form that is designed to hold a beverage that can make you tipsy!

Thinking through both the form and function of a piece before setting out to make it is a good habit for all potters to get into. It can be what separates a “so-so” piece from a really successful piece. So have a look at the video and follow Matt’s lead, remembering to carefully consider form and function in your own work.Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

Wheel Throwing Video: Throwing Altered Vase Forms on the Potters Wheel

Posted On August 29, 2008 1 Comment

Today’s video comes to us from potter Benjamin Gufford of Goldsboro, North Carolina. After visiting two much-admired potters this summer, Benjamin was inspired to take his work in a new direction. The technique he demonstrates in the video is the result of this new inspiration.

When you can’t get out to visit other ceramic artists in their studios, remember to check in with Ceramic Arts Daily to keep you inspired in your studios. Even if we don’t realize it at the time, looking at other artists’ work – at all types of work – informs our own creative processes. I hope that this video, and all the great stuff in the video archives and features archives, helps keep your creative juices flowing. In addition to the video, Benjamin has shared some additional thoughts on his altered vase forms and his influences below.

Wheel Throwing Video: Hip to be Square – Making Squared-Off Mugs on the Potter’s Wheel

Posted On August 22, 2008 1 Comment

Today’s video comes to us from potter Keith Phillips of Asheville, North Carolina. Keith takes us through his process of making squared-off mugs, starting on the pottery wheel with a bottomless cylinder and continuing through to the finishing stages, which incorporate some handbuilding techniques.

Since there is no narration on this video (just snappy tunes!), Keith has shared some additional thoughts and instruction on this process below. With the visual of the video and the written how-to instruction, you should be all set to try this technique in your own studios! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

Wheel Throwing Video: An Unconventional Method for Throwing a Pitcher on the Pottery Wheel

Posted On August 15, 2008 3 Comments

I thought this would be a fun video to share because of the somewhat unusual methods potter Dave Henry uses to throw his pitchers. I figure that it is always good to think outside the cylinder, so to speak, and see how others approach various ceramic processes, even if you are quite comfortable with your own methods.

A self-proclaimed pack rat, Dave likes to raid his junk box to make homemade ceramic tools. In this video, he uses his hand-made spout maker and a hand-made extruder gun, in addition to some store-bought pottery tools. In case you would like to make a spout maker of your own, we’ve also included Dave’s instructions. He plans to follow up with a video on making his homemade extruder gun, as well. So, look for that in the future. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

How to Make a Wheel-Thrown and Altered Triangular Sake Bottle and Cups

Posted On August 4, 2008 0 Comments
North Carolina potter Judith Duff demonstrates how to make a sake set that is thrown on the wheel and altered using several different tools and techniques. If you have never tried making sake sets, give them a shot. Then you can impress your friends by serving sake using the proper serving implements! – Jennifer Harnetty,… Read More »

Wheel Throwing Video: Making a Homemade Wire Faceting Tool and a Wire Faceted Bowl

Posted On July 11, 2008 7 Comments

Today, we have another video from North Carolina potter Mark Peters. In it, Mark demonstrates how to make a homemade wire faceting tool and then shows how to use it to make a lovely loosely faceted bowl on the potters wheel. Next week, we’ll show you Mark’s follow-up video on trimming and glazing these faceted bowls. Plus, Mark will share a glaze and slip recipe that he likes to use on these forms. Stay tuned!
-Jennifer Harnetty, editor.