The art of ‘throwing’

You need much skill (and experience) to throw pots that achieve an acceptable standard and have high artistic merit.
During the process of throwing you turn or twist a ball of clay, gently pulling it upwards to create a hollow shape. You do this by placing a ball of clay in the centre of your turntable, which you then rotate. The trick is to press down on it in perfect rotational symmetry ( knows as centring the clay) , it’s probably the hardest skill to master as a potter, but necessary before taking the next steps. When you’ve mastered centring, you will be able to progress into opening – making the centre of the ball hollow; flooring – which ensures that the inside of the dish is flat or rounded; pulling – which shapes the walls to the right height and thickness; and finally trimming or turning which removes excess clay, refining the shape and creating a foot if necessary.
You can then further modify your pieces by attaching handles, lids, feet and spouts.
My experience of teaching pottery-making has taught me that, generally speaking, four to eight sessions are needed in order to learn centring properly, another four to six sessions to learn the basic techniques of opening, and the same again for pulling.

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