Clay people are a clever lot. It never ceases to amaze me how many interesting and innovative tools and techniques ceramic artists come up with to make their processes more efficient or to achieve the end result for which they are aiming. And the great thing is, clay people are always willing to share their tips. We often get tips from our readers and we publish a few choice tips every month in Ceramics Monthly. Today, I’m sharing a couple of those with you here in the Daily, including the wheel wedging board (shown at left) from Sylvia Shirley of Pittsburg, Kansas . Enjoy! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

Made from a large plastic drum cut in half, the "scrapper keeper" catches clay trimmings making clean up easier.The Scrapper Keeper!
 by Dawn Burnham, Mayberly, Ontario, Canada

I like to collect my clay trimmings for reclaim and I try to keep them off the studio floor so I don’t track them around, causing unnecessary dust trails and a huge health hazard. To make the scrap collection and clean up process easier, I found a clean, large, plastic drum and cut it in half. I kept the bottom intact except for a round notch that fits underneath and around the wheel head.

The center of the scrapper keeper is lower so that the pot can easily be seen in a mirror while it's trimmed.Granted, some scraps fall to the floor but it’s not as messy as having trimmings flying everywhere. I also removed a third from the top of the drum so I can view my thrown pots in the mirror I mounted in front of my wheel. I use the mirror instead of constantly turning my head upside down or rotating the pot. Hope this is of some use to other potters.

For more ideas for the pottery wheel, be sure to download your copy of Three Great Pottery Wheel Throwing Techniques: Tips on Throwing Complex Pottery Forms Using Basic Throwing Skills, which is free to Ceramic Arts Daily subscribers.

Sylvia Shirley's wheel wedging board is great for re-wedging clay right at the pottery wheelWheel Wedging Board
by Sylvia Shirley, Pittsburg, Kansas

Although I hate to wedge and normally use the clay straight out of the
bag, sometimes it just can’t be avoided. So I designed a neat little
wedging board to use while sitting right at the wheel. It is easy to
re-wedge collapsed pots on the spot instead of tossing the clay off to
the side and forgetting about it.

Cut a scrap of 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch plywood to fit the splash pan. It
should fit into the back part of the splash pan and extend over the
front edge. Cut the corners off the front edge, to protect your knees.
Then cut a scrap of drywall to the same size and shape and run duct
tape on the long sides to hold it in place. Attach some spacers to the
underside of the board to raise up the front edge of the wedging board
for better ergonomics. Wrap the whole thing tightly with heavy canvas
and staple it to the back. The canvas will keep the paper and plaster
bits out of the clay.

To use the wedging board, just drop it into the back of the splash pan
and let it rest on top of the front edge. That’s it. It is the
perfect size for wedging small to medium sized balls. You can also use
it flat, hooked over the edge of a table.

Above: The wedging board placed inside a splash pan.
Below: Plans shown from top, bottom, and side angles.


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