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Video: Throwing a Vase on the Potter's Wheel

By: Cat Collard - Updated: 13 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss

In this short video, Gillian Nichols of The Potters Wheel, Blakemere demonstrates throwing a vase on the potters wheel.

Video Transcript
Hi, I'm Gill Nichols at The Potters Wheel at Blakmere Craft Centre and on behalf of CraftExpert.co.uk I am going to demonstrate throwing a vase.

First thing to do is to make sure the wheel head is nice and clean without too much water, too much water and the clay is going to slide off, so you need to make sure there is no excess water on there.

Take a nice wedged piece of clay to get it prepared for the throwing and bang the clay onto the wheel. This can be shaped while it's on there. And the first thing we need to do is get the clay on the centre of the wheel.

First thing we do is get the clay up into a cone - this get rids of any irregularities in the clay and gets it smoothed out ready to make the vase, taking it back down again into a nice smooth shape. Then once everything's nice and neat and in the middle we can start putting the hole in the pot.

I'm going to slow the wheel down a little bit now and make the hole. Now all this clay at the side here needs to come back into the middle so we get the height on the pot, so we press from the outside, smoothing it in into a cone shape again. Make sure the water is covering the surface of the clay now, slowing the wheel down even more and then we start to bring the clay up, making sure that's nice and even all the way up. Bury it out at one point in there and over at the rim and that should be a nice strong shape now.

And then on the outside we use this tool called a potter's rib just to get rid of any excess clay. A little bit of a shadow underneath just to finish that bottom bit.

What I'm going to do is, all this slurry on the outside, I'm going to get that off now to leave a better surface for when it's being glazed - if you leave all that slurry on, it can effect your glaze. So you can see how much slurry comes off the pot, and it's just skimming over the surface.

Luckily with this wheel, it's on a wooden bat; these bats can be taken off. So all I need to do is wire underneath that, so that as it dries and now it's released it can contract away from bat.

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