I previously done some throwing during my A-levels and by that i mean about 10 session where i spent most of it trying to centre the clay.

Throwing is a term used to describe the rotating wheel ‘throws’ the clay outwards and the potter uses his hands to control and mould it against this force. It appears to be easy and effortless, but learning the process requires great patience and determination. I hear sometimes other students saying they hate throwing, but, as everything else, if you don’t practice and be determinate you will never get there. For this reason it is important to understand the principles and mechanics involved in throwing, so basically, practice, practice, practice. Once throwing is mastered, we are able to create a whole range of shapes with speed and ease from functional ware to components to sculptural pieces.

An even consistency of clay is essential. All clay should be wedged immediately before being thrown as even the slightly drying of the outer surface of a ball can make entering difficult. Wedging on it self is an art form and there are so many ways and techniques of wedging.

Start with a dry wheeled and place the ball of clay firmly in the middle of it, ready for centring. In order to be able to control the clay for shaping it must be spinning evenly and smoothly in the centre of the wheel. By applying gentle, but firm pressure to the clay you can centre it against the force of it being thrown outwards as the wheel turns. Personally, i find this process the most difficult and still need more practice.

While you are centring the clay, the wheel needs to spin at speed, but as the clay is opened up and the walls of the pot become thinner, the speed is reduced until the final stages of shaping. Both hands are involved in shaping and manipulating the clay and this is essentially a squeezing process with the clay being allowed to expand evenly.

Depending on their shape and size, pots can usually be thrown on the wheel-head and  cut off it with a wire. A little water splashed onto the wheel and drawn underneath and drawn underneath the pot for lubrication, making it easier to slide the pot off as you cut it. From the wheel it is transported to the palm of your hand (if you are lucky as me and then it just decides not to go on your palm and just break). the pot is held level with the wheel and then put onto a bat or board and left to dry to leather-hard state if you want to turn it.

First vessels made. Really happy with the shape, tho they are slightly on the heavy side.



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BA (Hons) Final Year Ceramics student at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Love experimenting with material and techniques and work on a range of medium.

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