Friday, June 12, 2015

1/3... 1/3... 1/3... - My way of throwing bigger, thinner pots!

I am not that strong.  There.  I admit it.  So I throw with fairly wet clay and also use clay with a low grog content.  It is much easier for me do.  It also has its challenges. 

The biggest problem for me is that of torque - especially on larger pieces or very thin pieces...and I like big pieces and I like thin pots.  After much trial and error, I came up with a way to get the height and thinness I like without having the pot collapse - I throw the pot in thirds.

I center normally.  I open the pot normally, but as I make my first pull, I thin the top 1/3 of the clay very close to the point where it will be when the pot is done.   With the next pull(s) I again start at the bottom, but focus on making the center 1/3 of the pot as thin as I will want it.  With my last pull(s) I work the bottom clay up, focusing on getting the bottom 1/3 of the pot as thin as I want it.  

1/3... 1/3... 1/3

This is NOT the way I was taught to throw, but my motto is, if it works for you, it is probably not the wrong way to do it!  This works for me.  If I try to keep my pulls fairly consistent, I need to put way to much pressure on the top of the pot which leads to torquing in the bottom of the pot.  My clay is simply too soft and does not have sufficient grog (structure) to withstand the torque.

I have taught this technique to students for some time now, and with great success.  So if you are having problems with your pots collapsing or torquing when you get too thin or too tall, give it a try and let me know what you think!

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