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If you're in the market for a potter's wheels, whether you need a new one, or if you're just getting started, this is the post for you. We will discuss the different styles, manual vs. electric, and the benefits of each.
Let's get started with the most popular wheel...
Electric wheels are by far the most popular for several reasons...
- Easy to use
- Forward/reverse functions
- Many styles to choose from
- Tabletop models available for portability
So what makes electric wheels so easy to use? Well, you put your clay on the wheel head... turn it on... and press the pedal! It rotates at the same speed for as long as you want, or you can speed it up and slow it down when needed.
If you're a beginner, the simplicity of this wheel's operation is exactly what you need! No need to worry about keeping your feet moving while you're concentrating on your hand movements.
If you're working on a "masterpiece" and have to stand up or move around to see it from different angles, or in motion, this is the perfect type of wheel for you.
There are a wide range of makes/models available on the market today. When you are deciding on a purchase, my suggestion is... "Don't go for the cheapest... go for the best... the one that best suits you!"
Kick wheels are not as popular as electric wheels, however; many professionals prefer them over electric wheels for several reasons...
- The ability to rotate freely clockwise/counter-clockwise
- Without a motor, they are pretty much maintenance free
- They virtually last a lifetime
- They are perfect for trimming your pieces
- There is a unique feeling that goes with a kick wheel... often referred to as a "zen-like feeling"
- Some manufacturers offer kickwheels with motors. You simply engage the motor when you need a break, or for detailed work.
Note: Kickwheels are very heavy making them difficult to move. They also require a lot of leg action, which could lead to knee problems in the future.
That being said, if you want to be "one with nature," this type of wheel will help you get there!
Portable Wheels are great for those that want to take them along on vacation, or if you live in different homes throughout the year. They also make a great wheel for teachers!
Rehabilitation Wheels are phenomenal for those that cannot use a regular wheel. They are wheelchair accessible, larger than other wheels, have casters that make them easy to move into position, and lock down feet to keep them stationary for throwing.
Whatever your wheel needs are, don't hesitate to email our Customer Support Team, or call us toll free at 888-513-5303,for additional information and answers to any questions you may have!
Do you like the look of a large "thrown"platter, versus a slab platter, but don't quite have the skills to start with a ball of clay to make one? Well, there is an alternative method that might just be the ticket!
We are going to make an 18" platter with a slab and large coil finished off on the potters wheel. Not only is it going to look great, it will give you a sense of accomplishment!
Grab a cup of coffee and follow me to the studio!
A few weeks back we sent an email asking our readers what they'd like to see in our posts. One thing we were asked is how to judge the thickness on pots thrown on the potters wheel.
Here are two simple tricks that I've used in my quest for "perfection!" Mind you... I'm still on that quest but at least I believe I've mastered the thickness issue.
Grab your coffee and apron and follow me to the studio!
Although I had a different topic picked out for today's post, however; I've decided to write on disappointing kiln openings, as it's very fresh in my mind since I had that this morning.
Have you ever been so excited to open the kiln you could hardly wait for it to cool down? I've been there many times, however; I have learned to be a bit more patient over the years.
This firing was one of those I couldn't wait to see though. I could have opened the kiln late last night but convinced myself to wait until today. I'm so glad I did, or I probably wouldn't have gotten much sleep!
There isn't much I find more frustrating then opening the kiln to find some not so nice looking products. So what do you do next?
If there is one tradition most people adhere to it has to be piggy banks. I mean, what kid doesn't get a piggy bank at some point in their life, right?
Time to roll up your sleeves, turn on your wheel, and get muddy! I'm going to show you how to make a cute bank that can be in the shape of a pig, or any other critter, you are inspired to make from the basic form.
The size of your bank is up to you. I'm doing a small one that will look nice almost anywhere in the house. You can put it up on a shelf, in the china closet, or on a night stand.
Unfortunately, I don't have a hand-built pattern for this project, so a wheel is necessary.
Have you ever seen a double walled vessel? You know, the ones with a solid inner vessel, encased in a delicately designed outer shell? I'm sure if you did, the first thing you thought was, "Wow, I wish I could do that!"
The thought of throwing a vessel inside a vessel may scare you, but how do you feel about trying a hand-built version... you could even use different color clays for each vessel!
Well, I'm gonna give it a try, and thought you might like to join me. Grab your coffee and follow me to the studio!
If you ask a potter what they want for Christmas I'm sure you will hear a few responses like... "Well, I really want a new wheel, " or "I've been wanting a pugmill for years."
Ok, so not everyone can afford the big items this year, but how about some of the tools and supplies that make everyday clay work easier? You know, the ones we don't like to buy for ourselves, because we're saving money for those big ticket items.
I know most of you are the potter's that want these things, but who says we can't forward this post to our family and friends and give them some ideas right?
Let's talk about some of the things I've found to be really helpful in everyday clay work and see if any of them are on your wish list.
I love using clay coils to create interesting bowls, platters, vases, etc... however; it's not nearly as easy as you might think. Rolling a coil can be a bit more challenging than it appears.
Once you get the hang of it though, the possibilities are unlimited! You can go tall and thin, short and fat, oval or square, or create your own unique shapes.
Grab your coffee and follow me to the studio where I will give you step-by-step instructions for creating a large colander out of coils.
With all the different types of bats out there, how do you know which one to use, or if you even need one at all? I personally don't think I could do without them!
For starters, bats make it easy to move some of the more delicate pieces I make. For instance, large wide bowls are difficult to take off the wheel head until they've set up quite a bit, and that takes my wheel out of commission until I can move it.
Not only that, but sometimes I use a little too much water on an already very soft clay, and the walls start to fall. If you take the whole bat off the head and set it aside to dry a while, you can put it back on and pick up right where you left off... no need to try and re-center.
I know when I first started working with stoneware clay, one of the questions I had was, "What color should I use?" It comes in so many colors... white, buff, red, brown, speckled.... the list goes on.
I started with white, but soon learned, that I didn't like the white ring around the bottom of my pots, against the dark glazes. I used stains and such to cover up the white ring, but that became a nuisance, so I started to pick up additional colors.
What color do you use? Not quite sure which one is best for you? Well, today we're going to talk about how, and why, I use the different colors.