BCS Video

  • Bottles are a fairly basic form, but present some unique challenges, so don’t move on to bottles until you feel confident in centering and throwing cylinders. The first steps to throwing a bottle are the same as throwing a cup or any other cylinder, but you should take some time to plan ahead. When you throw a cylinder to turn into a bottle, it should be a minimum of two (and three would be better) times taller than it is wide, and it will be shorter than you expect when completed, so use more clay than you think you will need and trim the top if you need to.

    • 23 Pottery Tips from A Year of Reading Pottery Blogs - Pottery Making Info | http://www.potterymakinginfo.com/news/23-pottery-tips-reading-pottery-blogs/

      […] How To Throw Advanced Shapes – Bottles […]

  • In parts 1 and 2 of our basic throwing series, you learned how to make a cup and bowl. Now complete the set by learning how to throw a plate. look below for instructions you may have missed.

    Plates may be the easiest form to throw, but they can turn into the most frustrating to finish. Because plates are so wide, and have so much surface area on the base, they are prone to warping and cracking, but with practice plates can be a cake walk.

    Always throw plates on bats, unless you want to sacrifice your wheel for a day or two while you wait for the plate to get leather hard. Start your plate by centering your clay, just like the cup and bowl, but instead of opening, you will push the centered mound of clay down and out into a disk. Once the disk is nearly the intended diameter, use your index finger to lift up the edge to make a rim.

    Compress the middle with your hands, then a rib and then a sponge. This will give order to the clay platelets, and squeeze out excess water, which will prevent cracking and warping. Wire-tool your plate off the bat, but don't remove it yet. Let it dry slowly until it is stiff leather hard and it will come off cleanly, then trim and leave to dry thoroughly.

    Don't stack too many plates on top of each other in the bisque firing, three high should be ok. You can stack more plates on plate stilts, if you want

    Plates are not only functional pieces, but can be decorated and used as displays.

    Do you have an idea or project you'd like to share, or would you like to try your hand at writing an article for us? Shoot us an e-mail at bcscommunity@bigceramicstore.com


  • In part 1 of our basic throwing series, we learned how to make a cup. Here in part 2, we're learning how to throw a bowl. Enjoy the video and look below for instructions you may have missed.

    Bowls are another simple shape, great for practicing basic throwing skills.

    Start your bowl the same way you did the cup, by centering and opening your clay. Instead of drawing the clay straight up, to make a bowl you can draw it up and out. Be careful not to move too much clay from the base, if the base is too thin your bowl won't hold up. When making a cup, the goal is to have sides of an even thickness from top the bottom, but a bowl should have thicker sides on the bottom than on the top.

    Once you have achieved the basic bowl shape, use a metal rib or a bowl making rib on the inside to create an even curve, this can make a huge difference for the shape and functionality of your bowl. You can add a rim to your bowl, or use a hole tool to turn it into a colander. Bowls can be decorated on the inside or out to make them your own.

    Do you have an idea or project you'd like to share, or would you like to try your hand at writing an article for us? Shoot us an e-mail at bcscommunity@bigceramicstore.com

  • In part 1 of our basic throwing series, we’ll learn how to make a cup. Enjoy the video and look below for instructions you may have missed.

    Cups are among the simplest forms you can throw on the wheel, but are excellent for practicing three of the most fundamental skills necessary for throwing: centering, opening and drawing up.

    NOTE: all instructions are for right handed throwers, using a western style (turning counter clockwise) wheel. Many left-handed potters use the same method, while other prefer to reverse their hand positions and throw on a Japanese-style (clockwise) wheel.

    Centering

    You can see an in depth guide to centering in our previous video, but here are some quick tips. Keep your feet flat on the ground. Use the heel of your left hand to push the clay from the side and push down on the top with the edge of your right hand. Cone the clay up a few times by squeezing it with both hands from the sides. Keep your left elbow tight against your hip and use your body weight, not your muscles, to center.

    Opening

    This is also covered in the centering video. Remember to open with the middle finger of your right hand, and squeeze the clay into your left hand, flatten out the rim, this will finish the centering/opening process.

    Drawing Up

    Now that your clay is centered and opened, it's time to give it height. Using your left hand on the inside and your right hand on the outside, pull clay from the base to the top. What's the best way to do that? You will have to experiment to find out what feels right for your hands, but you can use the tips of your index fingers, or middle fingers, you can also use the knuckles on your index fingers.

    It is best to minimize the surface area that contacts the clay, this will make drawing up faster and less prone to knocking the clay off center. Draw up slowly to make sure the walls are even and without spirals or ridges. Try to achieve your desired height in three pulls, too many will wear out the clay and make it harder to work with. Compress the rim after each pull.

    Finishing

    Shape your cup however you want. You can bulge it out or collar it in, smooth the outside with a rib, or use texture tools to rough it up. Once it's off the wheel you can use your hands or a paddle to give it flat sides or just add some asymmetry.

    Once your cup is dried and fired it will be your own unique drinking vessel. Try making a set of six (or more) all the same, or a mismatched set with similar colors and features but each one different.

    Do you have an idea or project you'd like to share, or would you like to try your hand at writing an article for us? Shoot us an e-mail at bcscommunity@bigceramicstore.com

  •  

    I've been making pottery since I was a kid, but until a few months ago, I never had my own studio. Now I have a few wheels, a kiln and some shelves, but I had never thought about all of the little things other studios had that made producing pottery a little easier and more efficient. Here are the five things I did to make my home studio feel more like a real studio.

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