Throwing on the Potter’s Wheel
Sitting at the wheel with a perfectly centered cylinder of clay gliding through slip covered hands, can be an activity that brings peace, as well as a feeling of empowerment; I cant help but feel that I will be a potter for the rest of my life.
As early as 24,000 BC, humans were involved in ceramics (History, Par. 1). Back this far in our past, only simple figurines were constructed out of clay and made into the shapes of animals and humans. It was not until almost 10,000 years later, as communities have begun to be established, that the use for clay had evolved. People had begun making flooring tiles in Mesopotamia and India. Around 9,000 BC pottery had begun and the use of clay was focused on making vessels for storing food and water (History, Par. 2). As time moves forward, new innovations for ceramics are developing around the globe such as the discovery of glaze, the discovery of porcelain, and the development of the art aspect of pottery.
When one makes piece on the ceramics ‘wheel’ it is called throwing (Burkett, Page 1). Now we use electric wheels, however there is also a non-electric, foot-powered wheel. Some people still use the ‘kick wheel’ today.
When I start out a throwing a piece I have a specific set of tools that I prefer to use. Obviously everyone needs a bucket of water and a lump of clay, but I have a special footing tool as well as a special wood tool that I use (Geisinger, Par. 3). It is important to play around with tools and to find ones that suit your needs.
Overall, there are three major steps involved in the process of making a piece on the wheel. However, there are dozens of other steps in between the 3 major parts. Step one is centering. When clay on the wheel is centered it means it is spinning 360 degrees without any lumps or other various distortions. Centering is the hardest part and often beginners will be turned away at their inability to even...