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Student Resources

Student practice hours are from 10am-10pm, everyday. We encourage you to come in and practice!

A FEW THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

A month-long class is an overview of the basics of wheelthrowing. In this class, we’ll go over: centering, opening/pulling walls, trimming and finising, and glazing. We will also go over introductory handbuilding basics on the slab roller and extruder. Clay and firing is included in your class fee. Please note: the kiln schedule may vary and is subject to many factors. You may not be able to get a piece through both firings in a month, but you are welcome to come in and finish/glaze any piece that you started during your month of classes.

OUR POTTERY CLASS TIPS: 

  • Come and practice outside of class!
  • Ask questions, and ask for help as often as you want!
  • If you miss a week, schedule to make up the class during that month. Email us so we can let the instructor know.
  • Go easy on yourself - not everyone gets it the first week, or the first month. There’s a lot to learn and practice, and people learn in different ways and at different speeds. Try to enjoy the process of learning this vast field. 
  • If you have a specific goal or project in mind, share it with your instructor!
  • Some people use class time as their designated studio time and prefer to work alone and ask questions. Others want more more one-on-one help. Let your instructor know what you’re looking for to best utilize your class sessions

 

Sometimes it's hard to remember the steps of throwing (wedging, coning up/down, centering, opening the floor, pulling the walls, and cutting off - and of course compressing the base and lip the whole way through!). These videos can help refresh your memory, and we suggest exploring youtube for other helpful videos - there are so many!

Here is a link to our first steps reminder. 

 

 

WEDGING:

Here's a video to watch.

This includes both the ram's head wedge and a spiral wedge

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CENTERING:

A helpful video to watch.

Notes about this video:

  • If you have problems with getting your clay to connect to the wheel and it keeps flying off... this video has a method to help.

  • The potter here says to get your wheel going at full speed. Full speed is not always necessary, especially for small balls of clay, but as you practice, you will find what works for you.

  • Notice that when she cones up, it's all about equal opposite pressure. If you end up with a "volcano" (clay dips down in the center), be very careful not to pinch the top of the cone and trap that air inside the clay. Starting with a nicely rounded top before coning up will help.

  • Notice that when she cones down, there is an outside hand pushing the clay from the side (this is what centers the clay), and the top hand is not pushing with the middle of her palm, nor a flat karate chop, but using the softer part at an angle.

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THROWING:  

PART 1

PART 2 

The Clay Lady is a great youtube channel for beginners! Her explanations are clear and easy to follow. Feel free to dive into her youtube page to watch more of her videos.

  • Remember to always use a bat on top of the wheel when throwing in the studio, since the bat pins are left in permanently.

  • The way she opens her clay might be different than the way your teacher showed you, that’s ok! You'll learn in pottery that there are many ways to do the same thing, you just have to find the way that you're comfortable with.

  • She also uses pot lifters, which we don't have at our studio. You can either leave your piece on the bat if it's a large piece, or do the "hydroplane" method - put water on the bat, then using the wire tool pull the water under the pot while cutting off and hydroplane it to get it onto a new board or bat. (combine small pieces onto one board or bat- leave large or flat pieces on the bat after running a wire through the bottom)

 And another helpful video.

  • In this video, the potter cuts the piece in half and opens it to show you what he's doing on the inside, so it will help you to see what your inside hand is doing.

  • This video does not explain centering. The potter centers his clay without coning up/down, but we suggest you practice the coning to help you achieve a better center (plus it’s just one more skill you’ll have!). First you'll see he runs his fingers along the base to make a seal, giving it downward pressure to make sure it's really anchored before moving on and centering it without coning up and down.

  • Then he opens with his thumb, which is one way to do it. Remember there are a few ways to open, but you should open with at least one hand outside the clay to stabilize it and open at an angle (not straight down).

  • This potter pulls up his wall with his outside hand, which may be different than you learned. Feel free to try this, or stick to the method you learned in class.