Posted 25 December 2016 - 11:08 AM
I am pretty much self-taught and taught by YouTube videos to throw on the wheel. I had nobody to tell me specifically but I finally figured out a few months in that nearly every form starts with a cylinder. It follows that if you are very good at making cylinders (which I had never focused on making because I personally find a plain old straight sided cylinder pretty boring as a shape) you have the foundation to make almost any form you want from there. One of the biggest breakthroughs I had was from a little sentence in a wheel throwing book; it made me realize that I was curving my bowls up and out all at the same time which was causing them to buckle and collapse if I took them too much bigger, so I ended up with very thick bowls and lots of clay to trim at the base. After I learned that from the book I started pulling up, then angling out before curving the shape I wanted. I now use less than half the amount of clay I was using for bowls. Before, was I making bowls? Yes. Did they look nice? Sure. I could have gone on making them that way forever. But it was the wrong way because it wasn't having the result I wanted.
You are beautifully describing right there one simple story that shows why basically books and online content do not take the place that good hands-on, in-person instruction will do. Those "revelations' that you came upon are some of the most BASIC points taught in the very first couple of intro throwing classes. Someone watching you throw would pick up on the fact that you did not understand those concepts in an instant from watching what you were doing, ... and give you the necessary feedback.