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Mark C.

Tapping pots on center on the wheel

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Mark C.    1,806

This skill was taught to me as a 4th year thrower by an Alfred grad. Back in the day. I will always remember it like riding a bicycle.

 

First throw 30 small cereal bowls-wait till next day to trim them. The 30 bowls seemed like a feat in itself at the time.

 

Start with bowl inverted approximately in wheel head center and start wheel slow to medium speed- increase speed as you become more confident. Tap with dominant hand as the wheel spins–do not use any other tools than your hand. When centered hold it down withclay balls and trim it-Repeat 29 more bowls =by the 20th something you will be tapping them at high speed and by 30 this skill will be mastered.

 

In this day and age this skill is still useful-but you have a griffin grip you say. I have several myself but off centered wares say like inverted pitchers to trim work great also with the adjustable slider on a griffin one can tap it centered then lock the slider down. I know u-tube has the skill ontape if you need to see it.

 

Throw the 30 bowls and by the end of next day this will be a life’s skill you have mastered.

 

Mark

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neilestrick    1,381

Yes! My students struggle to learn it, mostly because they refuse to take the time to practice, but it is SO worth learning. There is no faster method to center for trimming!

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TJR    359

Mark;

I did not learn this technique in art school. I learned it at a production pottery in Scotland. When you are faced with a sea of pots to trim-like 30 bowls, you will learn the technique. Now you have opened the can of worms about apprenticeship vs. art school. I'll leave it in your capable hands. I don't own a Griffin Grip, although I have tried one. I guess I don't need one.

Regards,TJR.

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

This skill was taught to me as a 4th year thrower by an Alfred grad. Back in the day. I will always remember it like riding a bicycle.

 

First throw 30 small cereal bowls-wait till next day to trim them. The 30 bowls seemed like a feat in itself at the time.

 

Start with bowl inverted approximately in wheel head center and start wheel slow to medium speed- increase speed as you become more confident. Tap with dominant hand as the wheel spins–do not use any other tools than your hand. When centered hold it down withclay balls and trim it-Repeat 29 more bowls =by the 20th something you will be tapping them at high speed and by 30 this skill will be mastered.

 

In this day and age this skill is still useful-but you have a griffin grip you say. I have several myself but off centered wares say like inverted pitchers to trim work great also with the adjustable slider on a griffin one can tap it centered then lock the slider down. I know u-tube has the skill ontape if you need to see it.

 

Throw the 30 bowls and by the end of next day this will be a life’s skill you have mastered.

 

Mark

 

 

if you dip the lip in water, you don't need to attach the clay to hold it down.

Marcia

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Mark C.    1,806

Mark;

I did not learn this technique in art school. I learned it at a production pottery in Scotland. When you are faced with a sea of pots to trim-like 30 bowls, you will learn the technique. Now you have opened the can of worms about apprenticeship vs. art school. I'll leave it in your capable hands. I don't own a Griffin Grip, although I have tried one. I guess I don't need one.

Regards,TJR.

 

TJR

The reason I have two is they make trimming faster thru that sea of pots-two keeps me from changing out the arms for different sized pots like wide plates- time is is production time for me. I got mine when I bought out other potters who gave it up .

Anything that makes less time I'm all for.

Some of the skills we learned back in the day are taught less now with things like Giffen grips around-folks think the Giffen is the only trim tool to trim pots

Brian Giffens invention is a labor saver for me like a power wheel and a talisman sieve-just makes it all go faster

I did not mean to open a can of worms-art school and apprenticeship both have there place.I'm trying not to draw any lines here.

I only want folks to feel that tapping on center is worth learning and is not that hard to master

I am all about making and trimming and selling a sea of pots (what a great image)-I think doing it as efficiently is best for all.

Mark

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Pres    896

Mark;

I did not learn this technique in art school. I learned it at a production pottery in Scotland. When you are faced with a sea of pots to trim-like 30 bowls, you will learn the technique. Now you have opened the can of worms about apprenticeship vs. art school. I'll leave it in your capable hands. I don't own a Griffin Grip, although I have tried one. I guess I don't need one.

Regards,TJR.

 

TJR

The reason I have two is they make trimming faster thru that sea of pots-two keeps me from changing out the arms for different sized pots like wide plates- time is is production time for me. I got mine when I bought out other potters who gave it up .

Anything that makes less time I'm all for.

Some of the skills we learned back in the day are taught less now with things like Giffen grips around-folks think the Giffen is the only trim tool to trim pots

Brian Giffens invention is a labor saver for me like a power wheel and a talisman sieve-just makes it all go faster

I did not mean to open a can of worms-art school and apprenticeship both have there place.I'm trying not to draw any lines here.

I only want folks to feel that tapping on center is worth learning and is not that hard to master

I am all about making and trimming and selling a sea of pots (what a great image)-I think doing it as efficiently is best for all.

Mark

 

 

I taught myself how to do this technique years ago after seeing a potter do it at a show. I threw three boards of mugs, and tried doing it. By the second board I had it down. Then later I tried putting a little water on the wheel and not using the clay chocks. Learned to do that also. There are a lot of little tricks that you production potters know that many of us don't. I particularly like using an old butter knife to cut chalice bowls off or the hump. I originally saw another potter using a household putty knife to do it. Another trick I used often with students that didn't think far enough ahead to use a bat was to cut the pot off of the wheel with a cutting wire, then use a cutting string to pull a layer of water through to be able to slide the pot off of the wheel onto a board with the cutting string on the second pull. Great tricks!

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neilestrick    1,381

 

if you dip the lip in water, you don't need to attach the clay to hold it down.

Marcia

 

 

I just apply pressure to the middle of the foot with my left hand to keep it in place. No water or lugs needed. If you put a Snapple lid (or larger lid for large pots), you can put a ton of pressure there without pushing through. It takes a lot of practice to get used to, but it keeps you from having to clean up the lip after trimming. The thing I tell my students is to focus on the left hand pressure as much as the right hand trimming. As soon as you forget to push the pot will move.

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Guest Big Electric Cat   
Guest Big Electric Cat

Here is one from Simon Leach, it might be the one Mark had in mind:

 

 

Tapping center is not really a skill, it is a matter of physics. After you learn how hard to hit your pot, nature takes care of the rest. It's like riding a bike, you can't really explain HOW you ride, you just acquire the knack, and then DO it!

I WILL assent that it's a useful and elegant thing to know how to do.

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Ace    0

I like this idea! Then you don't mar up a perfectly good pot :) Going to try it.

 

Seems to me it would be easier to throw one pot....and practise 30 times on that??

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Mark C.    1,806

Ace the idea is tap 30 pots on while you trim them-Thats 3 lessons in one

1-throw 30 small bowls

2-tap on center 30 small bowls

3 -trim 30 small bowls

when done you will feel you did and learned something-You will be an Ace at it.

 

You will learn 3 skills with this not one

 

Ameichhoiz

Pots are not precious and its ok to mar them up in the learning process

 

You can tap anything on center but pots is what you will be using it for so start with them.

Mark

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JBaymore    1,432
Pots are not precious and its ok to mar them up in the learning process

 

 

Amen! The point at which students realize this is when the real breakthroughs start to take place.

 

best,

 

..............john

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yedrow    8

Hmm, my memory of learning to tap center involved screaming, cursing, and the burning of a small wax turtle fetish. Oh, and sticking my palm in the wax pan to increase focus.

 

I trim pretty aggressively and have to stick the pot to the bat. I sponge the bat, run the wheel up to top speed or near, grab the pot in both hands and just stick it on, no tapping and it is as centered as it will get by any other means. It takes a second or two and makes a good stick. The only downsides to this are that the pot can't be too wet or too dry and groggy clay is problematic. It has advantages over the Griffon Grip in that it is faster, there are no marks from the GG, and you can work along the whole of the pot (the GG limites you mostly to the bottom). Note: I like having a GG around, for doing parmesan shakers and such.

 

Another note: My philosophy about the use of devices is that they should always be used with caution. When it comes to creative work, any given 'labor-saving' device puts the artist at risk of making his ware to fit the device and in so doing limiting his/her range of expression. No greater violence can be done to a mug handle than by an extruder (like instant mug death man, total Huxleyan doomsday!!).

 

Joel.

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Darcy Kane    28

I have used all methods. I tap center (practice with a bisqued piece then move on to a raw piece), I use a GG, sometimes I use a bat with foam on it for odd rims, and I was originally taught to use a finger and tap small corrections. I have dampened the wheel and rim and stuck pots down, and I have used clay wads to hold pots in place. I must admit though, I often wonder what is the point of working to smooth a rim and them mash it onto the wheel to trim???? and then have to touch it up. Waste of time if you ask me.

 

My favorite approach is to throw pots that don't need to be trimmed at all! I hate the mess of trimming, what with pieces flying all over. How do you all catch your trimmings? I am a cheap Yankee and I still like to reclaim my clay but those pieces let fly all over the surrounding area and it's a PITB. I realize that many of you don't bother with reclaim but I just can't bring myself to toss it, and I love throwing with soft squishy reclaimed clay.

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sawing    1

Our instructor demonstrated this method for us, but didn't require that we learn it. I have tried it several times on my own, with no success whatsoever. Now that you've all brought it up, I am going to give it another shot!

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LilyT    1

Hmm, my memory of learning to tap center involved screaming, cursing, and the burning of a small wax turtle fetish. Oh, and sticking my palm in the wax pan to increase focus.

 

I trim pretty aggressively and have to stick the pot to the bat. I sponge the bat, run the wheel up to top speed or near, grab the pot in both hands and just stick it on, no tapping and it is as centered as it will get by any other means. It takes a second or two and makes a good stick. The only downsides to this are that the pot can't be too wet or too dry and groggy clay is problematic. It has advantages over the Griffon Grip in that it is faster, there are no marks from the GG, and you can work along the whole of the pot (the GG limites you mostly to the bottom). Note: I like having a GG around, for doing parmesan shakers and such.

 

Another note: My philosophy about the use of devices is that they should always be used with caution. When it comes to creative work, any given 'labor-saving' device puts the artist at risk of making his ware to fit the device and in so doing limiting his/her range of expression. No greater violence can be done to a mug handle than by an extruder (like instant mug death man, total Huxleyan doomsday!!).

 

Joel.

 

 

Hmm, this intrigues me, can you explain more about just sticking your pot down to the wheel

and it's centered? Are you pushing pretty hard? Why do you run the wheel at/near top speed?

Are you somehow (how?) adjusting it with your hands before you let go? Are you feeling

for a wobble? Load a video ;-). It will become an instant hit.

 

-Lily

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Having just resumed potting after a 33 year break, I was interested in the tap centering I saw on a few vids. I was pleasently surprised how quickly skill came to me.

 

I use a little water on the rim and a milk jug top to spread out the pressure from my finger.

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