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  • Efthimios Sifounios

Pottery throwing: the ancient art of shaping clay on a pottery wheel

Discover the history and process of pottery throwing, from selecting the right type of clay to forming and firing your final product.


Pottery throwing, also known as pottery wheel throwing or wheel throwing, is the process of shaping clay into a desired form using a pottery wheel. This technique has been used for thousands of years to create various ceramics, from functional vessels like bowls and plates, to decorative pieces like vases and sculptures. Pottery throwing is a complex and skillful process that requires much practice and patience to master.






Key Points;

Pottery throwing, also known as pottery wheel throwing or wheel throwing, is the process of shaping clay into a desired form using a pottery wheel.

This technique has been used for thousands of years to create various ceramics, from functional vessels like bowls and plates to decorative pieces like vases and sculptures.

It’s a complex and skillful process that requires much practice and patience to master.

The procedure for pottery begins with preparing the clay by selecting the right type of clay, mixing it with water to achieve a workable consistency, and centering it on the pottery wheel.

Once the clay is centered, the potter can start shaping it into the desired form using various tools and techniques.

This process requires skill and precision and working with wet clays while spinning on a powered pedal wheel. Creating symmetry takes time, focus, and an artistic eye.


Procedure

Pottery throwing is a centuries-old technique used to create art and functional pieces from clay. It requires patience, precision, and skill as the potter shapes and forms their piece on the spinning wheel. This procedure explains how to throw a pottery piece step by step.


A. Selecting and preparing the clay.


Selecting and preparing clay is an essential initial step in pottery throwing. You can find the necessary materials in a ceramic supply store, typically in dry, powdered form. Before using, mix the clay with water to have a workable consistency. Do not add too little or too much water – just enough to achieve the perfect balance between wet and dry. Once your clay is ready, ensure a smooth texture for a flawless result.


B. Centering the clay on the wheel.


Careful selection and precise blending of clay with water are fundamental elements for pottery throwing. Please place it in the center of the wheel, typically powered by electricity. Begin spinning and carefully shape and mold the clay while turning it with a pedal. Precision turns what started as a lump into something beautiful.


C. Shaping the clay into the desired form.


Once the clay is centered, the potter can start shaping it into a desired form. This process requires skill and precision and working with wet clays while spinning on a powered pedal wheel.

1. Using tools such as a rib, scraper, and wire tool


The art of pottery is a skillful and meticulous process requiring endless practice and patience. A potter begins by throwing a lump of clay on the wheel before using various tools, such as the rib, scraper, and wire tool, to shape it into a beautiful piece.

The rib

The rib is often used to smooth the surface and define basic shapes,

The scraper

while the scraper is used to refine edges or trim excess clay.

Wire tool

Finally, when the piece is complete, they use the wire tool to cut it away from the wheel. With these tools, a skilled potter can create stunning works of art that stand the test of time.


2. Techniques such as pinching, coiling, and slab building


Pottery is an ancient art form that has been around for centuries. Each potter working in clay has a unique style of crafting that can be used to create beautiful works of art. Potters often use pinching, coiling, and slab-building techniques to shape the clay into desired forms.


Pinching is a technique where the potter uses their fingers to squeeze and shape the clay into desired shapes.

Coiling involves creating a coil of clay and then manipulating it into desired shapes.

Slab building involves creating flat pieces of clay and then shaping those pieces together to form bowls and other vessels in the desired size and shape.


These techniques require skill, patience, and attention to detail — attributes any great potter should possess!


D. Drying and firing the piece

Creating pottery can be a fun and rewarding experience, but extra steps are needed at the end of the process. Once finished, the piece must go through a drying phase before being fired in a kiln. The drying must be done very slowly to avoid cracking from moisture.


Once completely dried, it can be put into the kiln and fired to harden and waterproof the clay. Depending on the materials used and desired effect, this firing could take up to several hours at predetermined temperatures.


Conclusion

Pottery throwing is an enjoyable craft that involves skill and patience. It has been around for centuries, yet it remains popular due to its complexity and the unique pieces it can produce. You can use it to express your creativity and make one-of-a-kind gifts or decorations for your home. Consider trying pottery throwing this summer; you may find yourself with a new hobby full of great memories!

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