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The Dividing Web: A Handy Tool for Making Evenly Spaced Patterns All the Way Around a Piece of Pottery

How many times have you tried to eyeball making evenly spaced decorations around a piece of round pottery and misjudged the spacing? I have done this more times than I care to admit. So unnecessary, especially when potters like Sylvia Shirley share tips on handy devices like the one below. Sylvia’s dividing web will make all of my eyeballed disasters a thing of the past.

What’s more, we included a printer-friendly version of it in our latest free download: The 2010 Workshop Handbook: Pottery Tools and Studio Resources. So download your copy and enjoy the Dividing Web and all of the other great tips and tidbits packed inside. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

This handy guide makes it easy to divide the surface of any round pot into as many as twelve equal sections. Whether you’re decorating, darting, paddling or attaching handles and spouts, you’ll want to keep a few of these around the studio.

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click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Making the Web
Use a photocopier to enlarge this wheel to the desired size. Attach it to a wheel head-sized circle of cardboard. Cover with plastic wrap or have it laminated at an office supply store. The numbers refer to the number of divisions desired and are repeated at equal intervals around the circle
click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The Pointer
The pointer helps you transfer marks from the dividing web to the pot. Make sure the bottom of the pointer block is square and the front side is perpendicular. The arms can be made from Popsicle sticks.
click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Using the Dividing Web
Center a pot on the wheel. Draw circles on the pot using a red felt-tip pen. Align the pointer with the selected line and position the Popsicle sticks to touch the pot. Tighten the wing nuts. Make a tic mark on the pot at the end of the Popsicle stick using the red felt pen. Move the pointer to the next position and repeat.
click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Ideas to Get Started
Accurately marking off divisions on your form opens up a world of potential design work. Once the desired number of marks are made, decorate as desired, using sgrafitto, trailed slip, brushed oxides, etc.
This post was excerpted from the
Ceramic Workshop Handbook: Pottery Tools and Ceramic Studio Resources
which is free to Ceramic Arts Daily Subscribers.

Download your copy for printer-friendly versions of the illustrations here.