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RICHARD SE

Beginners use of water amounts for throwing

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Hi everyone 

i have just taken up pottery a couple of months ago  and love it ,bought myself a cheap electric wheel and can not stay off ,20 plus hours a week easily 

i can centre no problem but I need to use so much water and take a lot longer than the pro’s take ,that’s for sure 

By the time I have it centred I have created so much slip I can loose more than 20% of what I start with by the time I finish making a mug for instance 

I have checked the weight straight after making a mug  Start with 500 grams and finish with under 400 grams

although I still can make a pretty good mug that I am very happy with  ,don’t get me wrong 

do others have the same problem ,is it just some people’s hands  suck up so much water or will it improve 

i start a pull up with plenty of slip /water for lubricant but can only get a third way up max, of pull and need to add more water every time 

I have watched so many videos of potters do this so easily with hardly any slip or water 

what am I doing wrong,PLEASE HELP 

REGARDS RICHARD 

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I don’t really think you are doing anything wrong but becoming more proficient. Practice with attention leads to proficiency. Think of it as the first time you drove a car, everything seemed fast, almost too fast to pay attention to everything at once. After enough practice you barely think about it anymore and that scary trip on the freeway is simple and easy now. Same with throwing, everything will slow down for you, you will center more quickly, your touch will improve and your wall thickness will decrease while height increases all while needing less water.

its just a natural progression. That you are impatient and that you notice tells me you are interested enough to stick with it and will improve in less time than those that are somewhat disinterested in the final outcome.

hang in there, keep watching others and you will develop what works best for you.

Edited by Bill Kielb

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I am mostly a  hand builder not a big time thrower but when I do throw I throw fairly dry.   My professor in my second throwing class instructed the class on how to achieve this.  It comes naturally to me now but I remember he said to keep your hands wet.  You don't need to throw water on the wheel,  after you have it centered keep a small sponge in your hand to squeeze a little extra moisture when you need it.  The entire class quickly learned to throw dry and loved it.    Denice

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13 minutes ago, Denice said:

keep a small sponge in your hand

Yes---I learned this same way...keep the hands/fingers wet (not putting water from a bowl directly onto the clay) and use a very small piece of a natural sponge to squeeze a few drops between the fingers & the surface when needed.  That's been my technique ever since and so I don't generate a lot of sludge or get the clay body too saturated-even though I am no longer proficient at throwing per se.  

 

Richard---consider editing your post title to say something like Water for Throwing so that it can be found in Search...people look for previous topics that way, and using your name  as the title of the topic won't help them find this thread in the future! 

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3 hours ago, Bill Kielb said:

I don’t really think you are doing anything wrong but becoming more proficient. Practice with attention leads to proficiency. Think of it as the first time you drove a car, everything seemed fast, almost too fast to pay attention to everything at once. After enough practice you barely think about it anymore and that scary trip on the freeway is simple and easy now. Same with throwing, everything will slow down for you, you will center more quickly, your touch will improve and your wall thickness will decrease while height increases all while needing less water.

its just a natural progression. That you are impatient and that you notice tells me you are interested enough to stick with it and will improve in less time than those that are somewhat disinterested in the final outcome.

hang in there, keep watching others and you will develop what works best for you.

 

 

 

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richard, most new throwers use clay that is rock hard.    if you can push your thumb into it easily, it will throw more easily.  if it takes effort to shape it, it is too hard to throw.   try adding water by wrapping a big piece in a wet towel and bashing it with a heavy club.  after a few minutes of that, you might be able to wedge and throw it more easily.    lifting the walls is also easier if you shape the original ball of clay into a hockey puck or a doorknob before you start to lift.   how can you lift if you cannot get a finger under what you want to lift?

do not throw water on your pots, it just messes up the whole process.    only your hands need to be lubricated with water when they touch the clay.  use a sponge as several of us have suggested.  making pots is the object, making a mess is not.

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6 minutes ago, RICHARD SE said:

Hi bill

thanks for your good advice 

i am reusing a lot of the stoneware clay from practicing. Can it be the reconstituted clay also not helping 

REGARDS RICHARD 

Certainly can be more difficult especially if it has lost its plasticity with respect to pulling or is just stiff with respect to centering. I think you will improve quickly. Maybe not as quickly as you want. When I started I was so impatient I practiced with everything and anything always including bad wheels, hump throwing, tiny vessels, giant bowls, try to make something so thin you can see through it. It helped but it was never fast enough or good enough. Today I throw porcelain comfortably and reasonably. Still improving though.

here is a bad video 

 

 

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Some of it could be the clay that you are using. Most of the stuff I throw using Laguna B-Mix  which I use more water that when I throw Laguna Raku clay which has grog that the B-Mix doesn't have. 

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Richard, I edited your title so that it would be easier for search engines to find the actual topic. I hope you do not mind.

 

As to throwing, patience is the biggest attribute that as a beginner you can bring to the wheel. It is much like riding a bicycle, as there is no a priori knowledge that helps you learn how. All learning to ride a bike and to throw on the wheel is new knowledge not built on something you have learned before. So you have to be patient, teaching/learning how to hold your hands, how much pressure to use, where the inside fingers are as opposed to the outside fingers, how fast the wheel should move, how much water, how much pressure and where to vary pressure, how to assess the causes of an uneven rim, a cracking rim, a lost pull. . . . the list really just goes on and on. In the end experience from patient practice is the only solution.   

Yet even then, you can get thrown a loop. . . . as I did when sitting on an all electric wheel after learning on a kick wheel. Large ball of clay . . . about 8#, water fresh, everything ready, the prof walking by, really ready to work, put my foot down on that foot pedal all the way down, clay went flying hit the bucket and the whole mess ended up on Don Tigny's feet! We stayed a ways apart most of the Summer semester after that, I never lived it down.

 

best,

Pres

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Hi Richard!

I don't use much water, and consider myself an intermediate beginner, having been throwing a year now. The first few weeks, there was pints of water in the pan after a session - now there's just drops that fling off the edge of the bat, and not many of them. Although my speed, how much time from starting to center until calling it done, has improved, I'm not fast enough to be able to sluice my work with water the way some accomplished throwers do - they're fast! I'm trying to avoid waterlogging my piece ...other very good throwers don't use much water, seems to be an individual thing, to some extent. Check out the Ingleton pottery you tube vids - he can definitely throw, yeah? He also washes the work in water. Others move the slip back onto the work, and use that instead of more water, and/or add just a few drops of water. It is possible to throw without water... I like the small sponge idea, but can't do that very well - limitations...

Softer clay is easier to throw, but will waterlog and slump sooner, aye. Some clays absorb water faster, as Johnny points out. I believe grog speeds up water absorption...

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On 3/30/2019 at 7:39 PM, liambesaw said:

Ingleton is crazy fast. That's the only reason it works!  He not only drowns his stuff, he also uses really really soft clay.  Amazing to me, I'm always waiting for his pieces to flop but they never do. 

An older British fellow explained to me once that the clays in the U.K. are different and generally speaking potters use more water as a result.

I've never been to the U.K. but watching Phil Rogers, Mike Dodd and others from the U.K. they all seem to work rather wet.

At about 9:30 in Phil Rogers explains:

 

Edited by C.Banks

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I started about a year ago and they 1st day I filled up the splash pan, literally filled it up, it does get better. 

"i start a pull up with plenty of slip /water for lubricant but can only get a third way up max, of pull and need to add more water every time "

I still get this sometimes, the tricks for me was to create just a little slip, that is not much more slippery than the dry pot, just enough to get it so my hands/fingers slide, and go slower, and use a wet sponge in the outside hand. Also the surface area of your hand on the pot, wrapping your whole hand around the spinning pot will almost instantly destroy all your slip, if you are only touching the wall with 2 fingers, that slip will still be there when you get 1/3 of the way up.

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One other thing, try not actually "pulling" with the 1st pull, more shaping the wall to a coneish shape to get ready for the actual pulls. If you are aggressively "actually" pulling when the wall is real thick at the base, you will run into just what you describe, or at least I do. 

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Different clay bodies will absorb water differently, and produce different amount of slurry during the process. Don't worry about it. I never tell my students to use less water. In fact, I'm usually telling them to use more, because dryness during the process causes more problems than wetness. They key is to get it centered, opened, and pulled up without dawdling, then you can get all the water off it and take your time shaping. If it dries out during pulling, keep you sponge in your outside hand, held so it runs along the clay and wets it just ahead of your fingers.

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I think the only thing I might add to this discussion is in regards to reusing your clay. 

Make sure you add your bucket slop and splash pan contents back into the smushed pieces and trimmings if you’re stripping out that much slip. The slip you’re generating is all the fine particles that help your clay stay plastic. If you keep reusing the clay without adding the fines back in, it will keep getting more and more short, and therefore harder to use. 

If you haven’t been adding the slop back in, you can throw a little ball clay into your reclaim, and that’ll do the same thing. 

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A lot of great suggestions, and I will just reiterate and add to them, based on my experiences.

When I started, my instructor, never told us to use a certain amount of water.  We were just told to clean off the slurry, from the clay, and our hands, when we started to notice a lot of friction/ drag on the clay.  It was fairly apparent, that as we got better, we would use less water, as my instructor used a thimble's worth and got nothing on his clothes. 

For many years, I would use half my water bucket, when throwing one thing, and the splash pan would be full, by the time I finished.  Now I can throw nearly a dozen items, and only have to swap out the water, because it is mostly slurry, and my splash pan is relatively empty, sans a bit of splatter.  Speaking of slurry, someone, I believe on these forums, recommended that I use the slurry more, instead of water, to keep your hands lubricated.  I want to say it was @Marcia Selsor, but I don't recall for sure.  Regardless, I have found that to be quite effective, as it still allows your hands to slide along the clay, without saturating it so much, that it will be weak, once you've thinned it out. 

Another big mistake, I used to make was using clay that was too hard.  In college, we always had freshly pugged clay, and it was never an issue.  Once I started teaching, I used the boxed clay, from the supplier.  The problem is, we would use the older stuff, from the previous school year first, and it tended to be a bit stiffer, since it had been sitting longer.  There are many times, that I struggled with throwing, especially centering, because the clay was just too dry for it. 

I now slam all the clay bags, straight from the box, on the ground, before throwing with it, and tell students to do the same.  Teenagers like throwing stuff, so this isn't something that is hard to get them to do consistently.  Also, if I find that some of the bagged clay is a bit stiff, I demote it to handbuilding, and get a different bag, for the wheel. 

Just keep at it, and you will get better!

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