How to Throw a Pot on a Potter's Wheel

Overview

Throwing pottery on a potter's wheel can seem to be a difficult task, but with the right preparation it is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all skill levels. While not every person will be able to throw a perfect pot right away, practicing the art will lead to better pots. Because clay is being used, beginning potters do not have to worry about mistakes, because the clay can be re-balled and the pot restarted without wasting materials.

Step 1

Center the clay on the wheel in order to get a uniform pot. Wet your hands and alternate between pushing down on the clay and pressing in the sides until the clay is completely centered on the wheel. It may take a few attempts to get the clay centered.

Step 2

Open the pot by gently pressing down the center with your thumb. Keep your thumb steady or the inside edges will be uneven. You can brace your thumb by supporting it with your other hand and keeping both arms against your sides. As the opening gets wider, use more fingers to pull the walls up by placing your fingers at the bottom of the inside and slowly pulling up the sides with gentle pressure.

Step 3

Lengthen the walls by pinching the sides between both hands and slowing pulling up. If the top is uneven, press down gently until it evens out.

Step 4

Use any small flat tool to trim the bottom edge, as extra clay will have built up. Place the tool in close to the sides and let the clay cut itself as it spins onto the cutting tool.

Step 5

Narrow the piece by gently applying pressure to the sides with all your fingers flat. Widen the piece by placing your hands inside the piece and gently pressing or pulling outward.

Step 6

Cut the piece off the wheel once you are satisfied with it. Place a long wire flat against the wheel and keep pressing it against the wheel while pulling it under the pot. This separates the pot from the wheel and allows it to dry without cracking.

Things You'll Need

  • Clay
  • Potter's wheel
  • Water
  • Apron or smock

References

  • JHPottery Wheel Tutorial
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About this Author

Kaitlyn Yeager is a reporter in northwestern Connecticut, reporting for two weekly newspapers and occasionally a daily paper. Yeager enjoys sharing information about knitting and crocheting, her two main hobbies.

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