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Learning to throw on the wheel…(Part 3 of 3)
A beginner’s guide…and made especially for Shere’s students)
Okay, so I am ready to pull up making sure my clay is nice and wet and the wheel is at its speed and I am comfortable with. I am going to start—let us look at my hands, one, two, three, these three fingers go inside. This finger is gently resting against the side of the pot. This finger goes over the top and the lip kind of rest in the between this two fingers. This finger is nice and relax as well as this. My thumb just kind of dangles down there and they are not doing too much. With this hand, one, two, three, go on the wheel. This finger also goes on the wheel. My thumb is tucked under kind of like making a sign language E. A rest of those fingers are on the wheel and then this part of this finger and this part of this finger are going to slowly squeeze together and work there way up to the piece.
Now there is a couple of things you need to know when you pull. The first thing is that there is obviously a bottom to the pot, so this finger is lower than this one. So before you start moving this finger, you got to let this one catch up with it so you got to push here, get it even and then come up. The other thing that you want to avoid doing is that a lot of beginners especially when they get to the top, they go like this and they pinch the work together and you want to resist the urge to do that. In resisting the urge to do that however, make sure you come to the top. Some beginners will go right here and then they will stop because they are afraid of messing up the top. So the best thing you think about is we pretend like you have a bunch more clay up here that you still have to pull and if you pull through and then you just leave your hands in that position and bring your hands of the clay. Sometimes that is easier to just kind of imagine that you have more to go and not to get nervous when you get to the top. So here we go, I am going to make a group down here in the bottom, coming up, now my fingers are even. So I am just going to pull them up together. We will get into the top and pretend like you have more clay and then slowly take my hands off. And that is my first pull.
Now I have got some junk on the top that is just slurry and start from the side of the pot and those kinds of things are important to ignore because if you are worried about that little bit of clay that you can easily wipe off with this sponge in a minute, you are going to mess up your piece because you are too worried about that.
Okay, I am ready to do it again. Make my brew, now they are even, pull straight up together and I do not panic when I get to the top. And this is getting all over our up the center so I am gently going back into this little position getting it quite back on the center and pressing the top. At this time I am not really going to pull, I am just kind of straightening up the walls. Notice that the clays are not flaring out like this. It is not going like this. If you are having that problem which most beginners do when they get started, a couple of things you might think about is (1) Consider the speed of your wheel and perhaps it is going too fast and (2) Make sure you are pointing straight up and you are not coming in towards you like this. Okay, give yourself plenty of time to work, scooped out from the clay when you need to, scooped in when you need to, get right over the clay, do what you need to do to get yourself on the right position to work on the clay.
Okay, now one of the things that I have to d here is because of the little wobbles and things, this has got a little bit uneven on the top, so I am going to trim the lip. Putting this hand inside, holding the pointer tool in this hand, I kind of go in to this, I am not going straight in, I am going in the side letting that cut the clay, it will gently catches my finger on the inside and then I pull up like that. Now because I was just trying to slow that process down, that maybe not as smooth as I wanted it and so I brought it out at the center again. So I am just gently going back to the center in position compressing the top.
Okay, so here I have a nice basic cylinder shape, taking my sponge holding it like this so I do not bump the sides. I am just cleaning up the water and that is the first thing I need to learn, how to do is through a cylinder. So once you have that down, then you can get in to doing the other fun things like bases, and bowls and things like that. Then I could do things with this cylinder, for example, I could color in and I am going to color it just a smudge because it does flare just a little bit. Just kind of gently working the clay to come in, gently bringing my hands up, compressing the top again. Okay, that looks like a pretty good cylinder.
So the next step is I have to get the piece ready for trimming. So the first thing I am going to do is I want to finish up the top. What I am going to do to that is I am going to take a piece of shimmy which you know, that is just a regular old shimmy stuff that you use to polish and dry wash your car, I cut it into a strip, it is a nice soaked cloth that is very, very wet. I just drape it over the lip, it becomes like this and let the clay go through it and it just gives it a nice, smooth, rounded lip. Okay, we did not use a lot of pressure to do that just kind of like that. So I am on the top and smooth it so.
Okay, now the next thing that I want to do is, there is extra clay on the bottom of this piece and that is called support clay. Some of that clay needs to stay there while this piece is drying. Some of it I can probably get rid off right now so I do not have to trim as much of later. So I am going to use my pointer tool first, and the first thing that I want to do is I am going to make what is called the train tracks. That is what I call it with my kids. I am just making a track or little groove in the bottom because I am going to put a wire underneath that in a minute and I wanted the wire to nowhere to go. So that is why it is called the train track, the train track is the groove, the wire if the train. Okay, so I have made up a little groove in the bottom, I will stop as you can see, that is where my water is going to go. But I have got extra clay in the bottom like a lot of people do especially when they are beginning and I would like to cut some of that off right now. So the way I want to do that is I am going to come in at an angle with my pointer tool, I am going to go down at an angle until I hit this bat. This is called the bat by the way, the plastic piece on the wheel. I am going to go down until I hit the bat and then I am going to stop. So here I go I will just gently going on the side, kind of about an angle until I hit the bat.
Now I am going to use my wire, run my fingers over to get any lumps or little pieces of clay off and get it into the water so it is wet, slowly turn my wheel, turn my wire on my hands, thumb putting pressure, put that flat against the wheel and because of the wheel is moving it will help that wire go right through the train tracks. Now, I am going to take my pointer tool to make a little cut in this ribbon of clay and just scrape that away and that this is all clay that I would have had to trim off anyway.
So now this piece is ready to dry and then later on I will go back with trim tools and I will trim more of this and this sharp edge will not be there anymore, it will go away. And I will put a flip in the bottom and I will be done.
So this is how you do the basic under shape and pottery and you got on the shape first before you do anything else. The next thing that we need to do now is once the pot dries we will trim it and I have other videos of trimming that you can check out also on my channel if you need help of that.
So good luck with your pottery and I hope this video is helpful. If it was, leave me a comment. Talk to you soon. Adios.