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I still can't leave my wheel dirty

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#21 ayjay


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Posted 09 August 2012 - 03:32 PM

Clean? I'm supposed to clean? :huh:

#22 sawing


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Posted 10 August 2012 - 07:21 PM

Before reading this thread, I never would have dreamed of leaving my wheel dirty. So, I decided to take a walk on the wild side. For the past several weeks, I have only cleaned my wheel when I switch clays. I have to admit, I like it!!

#23 Nelly


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Posted 10 August 2012 - 08:17 PM

Before reading this thread, I never would have dreamed of leaving my wheel dirty. So, I decided to take a walk on the wild side. For the past several weeks, I have only cleaned my wheel when I switch clays. I have to admit, I like it!!

Dear All,

I have to say I can't believe the number of responses to this post. I thought it was just my own neurosis. Have I spawned something?? Know that if you went to my studio right now you would find some old newspaper under the wheel where I drop some of my trimmings. My cupboards need organizing. My tables are covered with ware and more ware in various stages of drying. The actual wheel head is clean but my life has been hectic this week. I am in and out everyday in the studio but just haven't done a thorough clean for a week or so. On top of the busy week, someone has called me and said "can you whip me up something for a wedding for this coming Saturday." I will figure out a way to do it. It is not a money thing but rather a gesture for a friend.


#24 sawing


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Posted 11 August 2012 - 08:38 PM

I can't leave my "studio" without cleaning my wedging table, tools, buckets, work table and towels. Can't do it. My house, on the other hand, is in serious need of a Cleaning Fairy.

#25 Iforgot


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Posted 11 August 2012 - 10:49 PM

I clean my wheel head every time, but I only clean my tools and splashpan when either i decide to use a different clay of the 3rd or 4th use, whichever comes first!
Derek VonDrehle

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#26 Lucille Oka

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 05:58 AM

Nelly, there is no intrinsic value to having a messy wheel, or a messy splash pan. Having 2 years of accumulated clay on the wheel and in the splash pan will not make you a better potter, no just a messy one.

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

#27 Nelly


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Posted 12 August 2012 - 08:57 AM

Nelly, there is no intrinsic value to having a messy wheel, or a messy splash pan. Having 2 years of accumulated clay on the wheel and in the splash pan will not make you a better potter, no just a messy one.

Dear Lucille,

Absolutely. I could not agree with you more. My point in starting this thread was simply to say that all my years in classes I dreamed of leaving a dirty wheel...you know just get up, walk away and continue with life. But now with my own studio, I find myself stuck in old habits. In general, the wheel is clean at the end of the day?? Go figure??


#28 LilyT


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Posted 13 August 2012 - 12:06 AM

Neither a clean nor dirty wheel makes me a better potter, alas Posted Image.

However, in case anyone is curious...

My studio does not have running water, and my house plumbing
does not have a trap for clay so cleaning is only wiping off at best. I
generally scrape down the wheelhead as needed so the bats sit tight on the
pins. I never clean the little table on the wheel. I just toss water onto
the bone dry remnants to slake the bits before I throw, and at the end of
the throwing session collect my reusable clay leftovers to wedge up. The
surface doesn't get wiped.

Actually I do the same thing with my plaster bat. (bonus - it doesn't need
scraping and therefore has lasted many, many years). I do use different
clays, but rarely reds so the little cross contamination doesn't matter to me.

I allow trim scrap to build up in my splash pan because it's flimsy and
a pain to get on and off. I keep trimming to a minimum by trying to
trim the base of the pot as much as possible as soon as it's thrown (but
of course the inside of the foot...). When I do "clean", I just scoop it out.

I also do not clean my water buckets. I use the water until it's pretty
thick slip, then I let that dry down while switching to a different
container. When it's solidified a bit, I dump it out and reuse the container
(no cleaning).

When I have guests to throw in the studio, I do wipe down the tables
because while I just move carefully so as to not brush crumbs of clay off
and track it into the house; it's easier to just not worry about that
with students. I also put towels on the floor in their splash zones since
it's easier for them to throw wet. Also the trick of squeezing out the
sponge without squirting takes a while to remember. The towels get
rinsed off outdoors.

I used to have a big trash can as a 'sink' but it just seemed a little
creepy after a while because it didn't smell nice, in that sulfur rich way.
And I've drifted into this non-cleaning protocol.

I admit, I think I save time by not cleaning, and I save a certain amount
of mental energy since I can walk away to attend to my kids at any
time and then come back to it and start right up. Maybe if I could
work at it all day, I'd clean as a way to get into the rhythm of things.
When I used to use a public studio, there never seemed to be enough
time for throwing, and I always wished I could use that extra ten to 15
minutes at the end of each session 'productively' instead of for
cleaning, so maybe that's stuck with me and is my real motivation :-).

Thanks for starting this interesting topic! I've enjoyed reading people's


#29 Mark McCombs

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 10:49 PM

I clean the splash tray, wheel head and wipe down the wheel frame and clean my throwing tools before leaving the studio.

But I am not mental about it.

I think the design of these plastic, split splash trays necessitates routine cleanings. I would love to ditch that Shimpo tray and fabricate a new stainless steel splash tray for it.

Trim tools are crusty and I have a wonderful combination clay and glaze on my floor. :lol:
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#30 WillowTreePottery



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Posted 18 August 2012 - 08:17 AM

I have three wheels and they get cleaned when the grunge starts to interfere with putting a bat on the wheel head. I'm bad.

#31 msuki



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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:51 PM

This seemed like a fitting place to ask this question.

I just got an old creative industries wheel but it came without a splash guard... I'm a neat freak in the sense that I want to make sure my wheel will stay in proper working condition.

The question since I've always only thrown with splash guards.... How necessary is this? I mean I know I can physically throw without the guards but do I run the risk of damaging the wheel where point of rotation meets the table?

I know I could make one, but ultimately do I need to...

thoughts....? (and thank you in advance)


#32 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

I haven't been throwing long enough to know exactly what my choice will be- but my wheel does not have a splashpan. I have to drape a towl ofer my leg or wear ugly pants. I have a wet bucket that I dump out after each use, and a slip/waste bucket for the clay that I try to keep out of the wet bucket. The waste bucket gets recycled quicker because it is not as wet. (it always ends up with sediment on the bottom but I try to keep it clean so I dont dump clay in my drains)

All I do is dump out the wet bucket, (usually out my back door) and wipe down the wheel (but not every part perfectly, just the head and most of the table that is attached to it) I keep things half wiped down all the time.

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"To me the greatest thing is to live beauty in our daily life and to crowd every moment with things of beauty.  It is then, and then only that  the art of the people as a whole is endowed with it's richest significance.  For it's products are those made by great a many craftsmen for the mass of the people, and the moment this art declines the life of the nation  is removed far away from beauty.  So long as beauty abides in only in a few articles created by a few geniuses, the kingdom of beauty is nowhere near realization."                                                                                 - Bernard Leach 

#33 Natania


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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:10 PM

This has been a very interesting thread to read. I was feeling guilty about not cleaning my wheel much, while at the same time enjoying the freedom to not clean as a luxury after working in shared spaces for a long time. Now with my own studio I can leave my wheel messy, but I do clean the whole area, pan, etc. when I change from brown to white clay. Otherwise, I leave it and like the way I can just start up a throwing session quickly when I am ready. I worry a bit about dust, but it does seem that the splash pan isn't the largest contributor to this. Thanks for bringing this up! I love reading about how people deal with studios and studio practices.

#34 mgilespots



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Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:03 PM

Dear All,

Hope you aren't getting bored with my questions but am wondering about how obsessive others are with their wheels. I always thought, when I get my own studio, I will without a doubt get up after throwing and leave. Leave the mess. Allow myself the freedom from classrooms and studio cooperatives and simply allow it to be the exact way I left it after throwing. You know, covered with clay, gunge on the throwing front board or in the basin etc. But for some reason, I can't break the habit of cleaning the wheel head and the area around it. I am probably a little more fastidious given that I have a new wheel but I am not sure that is it. There is something about sitting down to a clean wheel that is nice and fresh that allows me some sort of clarity in my head.

How many of you still clean your wheel head and all your tools after a throwing session?


You know, I wish I was a regular cleaner. But, like so many others who have posted here, I am not. I usually leave the wheel messy after throwing, and clean up when it becomes just too darned cluttered and messy to make anything new. However, after a firing, before starting a new making cycle, I clean rigorously for a fresh start.

Talent is luck. Art is practise.


#35 Nelly


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Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:22 PM

When I first got a wheel, I had been throwing in a public studio and was used to cleaning up after every thrwoing session. So, for a few months, that is what I did at home. Gradually, I got away from this practice, although I still clean the wheelhead each time, get the clay out of my sponges and tools, and if throwing a good bit or as needed, wet mop the floor area around the wheel. When I change clay color from white to color or back, everything gets a meticulous cleaning.

I also take all of the throwing excess mud, bits and pieces off and out of my 2 gallon bucket and put them on a plaster slab I have by my wheel to dry. Usually overnight turns it into stock you can wedge and get back into circulation the next time. When my throwing water gets a little bit too thick, I change buckets and let that one evaporate until it can be slopped into the plaster slab for recycling. I recently purchased a small pugmill and need to figure out how to get it into the process, as my recycling is too efficient to utilize the pugmill. My clay is part time, so maybe going full time will change that (you know, getting all the equipment while my day job is primary.)


Dear John,

My clay work is also part-time. I have a potter friend locally who said, just get out in the studio every day and do something. Thus, I do just that. It may be recycling clay, turning a foot, throwing a bowl or cleaning...I just do something. It keeps me close to my work. Right now, like you, I am recycling a pail of sulpher and hopefully nice moldy trimming bits. They are on a ceramic plaster bat wrapped in light canvas. I love this clay when it is finished. When, as I was told on this forum, you mix it with some new clay it can be a dream to work with if properly wedged. I have had six weeks off...back to my day job next week. Things will slow down slightly after this time but I will, no doubt, be out there each and every day.


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