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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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Splash Bowls: Throwing and Altering to Create Pots that Mimic Drops of Water

Posted On March 30, 2015 1 Comment

Aysha Peltz’s “Splash Bowls” are inspired by the iconic photograph Milk Drop Coronet, by Doc Edgerton (http://edgerton-digital-collections.org). She was captivated by the “elegance with which the image arrests a moment in time” and realized that the exposure of clay to fire does a similar thing. In today’s post, an excerpt from the April 2015 issue of Ceramics Monthly, Aysha explains how these forms evolved and gives a snapshot of how she creates them. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Make a Flower Brick Out of Entirely Wheel Thrown Parts

Posted On March 23, 2015 2 Comments

Flower bricks have a long history in the ceramic world. Initially, they were the shape and size of bricks laying on their sides and had numerous small holes in the top for flowers. But ceramic artists have played with that shape, and now you can find a in a wide array of shapes and sizes made using all sorts of techniques. Joan Bruneau creates her flower bricks from entirely wheel thrown pieces, right down to the florets and rosettes that decorate the flower grid. In today’s post, an excerpt from the Ceramics Monthly archives, Joan shares her process.

You can purchase a PDF of the full article here!

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Practical Trimming Tips and Design Advice for Unified Wheel Thrown Forms

Posted On March 6, 2015 2 Comments

Trimming is a part of the wheel-throwing process that potters either love or hate. Regardless of where you fall on the love/hate scale, today’s video clip from Paul Donnelly should provide some useful information to aid you in the trimming process. In this clip, from his new video Designing for Function: Wheel Throwing, Handbuilding, & Variable Molds, Paul gives some practical tips for better trimming results, as well as some design advice that will help improve your wheel thrown pots.

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How to Attach a Generous Thrown Knob to a Lid Without Compromising Structure

Posted On December 26, 2014 11 Comments

Sarah Jaeger’s soup tureens have generous, bulbous knobs resembling “onion domes” popular in Russian architecture. They are quite striking and look like they’d be easy to use as well. It can be problematic throwing a knob on a leatherhard lid, especially a large knob and especially with porcelain. There’s always the worry that the lid will give out under the pressure or that the knob will be so heavy it will slump in the kiln. But in today’s post, an excerpt from Throwing, Altering, & Glazing for Function and Beauty, Sarah demonstrates how she makes them and gives tips for avoiding catastrophe! 

 
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Video of the Week: How to Throw and Assemble a Yummy Candy Dish

Posted On December 19, 2014 11 Comments

You can never have enough receptacles for candy in my humble opinion. I really loved Jake Allee’s candy dish project from his new DVD Assembly Required: Building Complex Pottery Forms by Throwing, Altering, and Assembling because it reminded me that I could probably use some more candy dishes in my world. More importantly, because of Jake’s technique of throwing, altering, stretching, and assembling, I started to really think about new ways to make them. Hope it whets your creative appetite too!

 

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Pottery Video of the Week: How to Make a Textured Sushi Plate Using a Wiggle Wire

Posted On November 28, 2014 53 Comments

I love the technique of using a wiggle wire to cut pots off the wheel, thus creating an interesting texture on the bottom of the piece — a great alternative to trimming a foot. In today’s video, an excerpt from Wheel Throwing with Nan Rothwell, Nan takes that concept a step further by throwing her pot upside down and cutting it off with the wiggly wire, creating texture on the top of the piece. Have a look and think of more directions to take this technique. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Make a French Butter Dish

Posted On November 27, 2014 8 Comments

Today we continue our tradition of sending a food-related post on Thanksgiving Day, since it is traditionally a day of feasting in the United States. In today’s post, an excerpt from In the Potters Kitchen, Sumi von Dassow shows how to make a French butter dish. If you are unfamiliar with French butter dishes, they are a great way to store real butter outside the fridge without it going bad. How does this work? Read on to find out! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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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.