My preferred technique for making pottery is throwing on the wheel. Throwing is the term used to describe how the rotating wheel ‘throws’ the clay outwards while the potter uses their hands to control and mold the clay against this force. Keeping the clay in the center of the wheel (centering) may appear effortless, but it is a skill that takes great patience and lots of practice!
|Opening up: a process of pushing down in the middle of the centered clay and pulling out, creating a mouth|
|Pulling up: repeatedly pulling up on the clay while the wheel in spinning; the wall of the cylinder gets thinner as the vessel gets taller as you can see in the following pictures|
And now to finish the piece - the desired shape is formed, edges and walls smoothed out.
Once I’m satisfied with the vessel I’ve created, I can either cut it off by sliding a fine wire between the bottom of the pot and the wheel head, remove it from the wheel and leave it to dry completely, or trim the bottom to create a footring (or foot). A foot is a raised circle of clay at the base of a throw pot on which the pot will stand.
Before the pieces I've thrown can be trimmed they must firm up a bit by drying to what's called the 'leatherhard' stage. At this point the clay can still be marred if you push your fingernail into it but it's not so soft that you can distort the shape with the push of a finger.
Next time I will show you how to trim a foot.