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TRIMMING: love it or hate it? | September 3, 2012

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#1 DPancioli



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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:34 AM

I have talked to many potters (and student potters) and there seems to be a divide between those
who like to trim and those who don't. (By "trimming" I mean the usual thing that potters do to a thrown piece--
turn the work upside down on the wheel, center it, and carve the underside with a specialized tool,
to enhance the basic form, and add a foot.

Personally I love to trim. It is a nice break from throwing and it really improves the forms--especially bowls.
I love the way trimming puts air and light under a piece. And you???

Diana Pancioli
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#2 TJR


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Posted 04 September 2012 - 04:02 PM

I like to trim. I wouldn't say I love it. I am able to tap centre, so this makes it go pretty fast. Try as I might, I still cannot leave my mugs alone without trimming a quarter inch off that bottom corner.
What I LOVE about trimming are the trimmings themselves and the fact that you can slake them down and make more pots! Can't do that with wood shavings.

#3 Nelly


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Posted 04 September 2012 - 10:12 PM

I like to trim. I wouldn't say I love it. I am able to tap centre, so this makes it go pretty fast. Try as I might, I still cannot leave my mugs alone without trimming a quarter inch off that bottom corner.
What I LOVE about trimming are the trimmings themselves and the fact that you can slake them down and make more pots! Can't do that with wood shavings.

Dear All,

I love to trim. I can spend long periods of time on just one piece. It is something about getting it just right. I like doing the undercuts. I like studying the bowl and seeing how I can shape it to make it just right. I know by this time I should be able to guage my wall thickness when I throw but something about taking away the excess clay and almost "finding" the shape on the outside excites me. I use various tools and usually end with the stainless rib. I have been playing with finishing the foot ring with a stone to burnish the edges or remove burrs. I have also, like a few of you, been trying to do the chattering technique over the summer and finding places of difference where I draw distinct lines with my tools (i.e., separating out the chattering from that which is smooth). So yeah, if I were to be asked and if I was honest, I do love to trim. Sometimes it feels like I sit down with a block of leather hard clay with an inner bowl shape and have to look for how I will trim the exterior but it is for me almost an intellectual exercise in trying to ascertain what the best look is for that bowl. I like deep foot rings that show the bowl off with height. I like showing the roundness of the bottom of the bowl shape within this ring. Funny, I put so much effort into the trimming you would think I could figure out how to do perfect walls on the original shape so it would not take this much work but maybe this is just my style. Take a block of clay with a bowl shape on the inside and somehow find the outside complementary shape?? And I believe it is almost intuitive when you find this shape. You know what looks balanced from that which is off. Those that are off drive me nuts when I wash the dishes. I say to myself, if only I took the time to just trim a little more I wouldn't be seeing or feeling this lump or thickness where there shouldn't be any. Great post!


#4 Mark C.

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:42 PM

This is not a yes or no answer for me. I like trimming if I'm feeling I have the time- Then its a snap and I get in the groove. If the sun is shining and I need to throw a ton more to get into the sun to dry than trimming is in the way of more production and I wrap the work and come back to it. I like to trim but only when its just right moisture wise. During the spring/summer when I have more time is when trimming is very enjoyable-come fall when I'm drying the work in the studio with heater cranked trimming is no joy and gets in the way but has to be done to clear the decks for the next batch.I'm told I trim like a mad man but thats true with just about all I do-Type A all the way.Trimming is like mediation is the warm weather times usually. I like to start out the day with trimming but often end the day with trimming the days sun dried work.
Mark Cortright

#5 Dinah


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Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:15 PM

Trimming. Good. Foot ring is your biography read by your buyer. And, if they do pick up the piece and look at the foot ring, they are a knowledgeable buyer. And if they look nonplussed you can chime in and tell them what an important thing they've just undertaken by looking at the bottom of the pot. And why. Maybe a wiggle wire finish on a guinomi's flat surface to be flashed as you kampai your sake; maybe a 3/4" footring. Your call. Your skill in throwing. Your consideration and attention to detail. Use a burnish block to smooth off any burrs, real or imagined. I have one handy to employ with a flourish on the base of any pot which has been purchased. Part of the Service, Sir/Madam.... However, I've already smoothed it off in the studio. Showmanship. Do it.

#6 Evelyne Schoenmann

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:07 AM

I like trimming much more than throwing. You can alter a piece some more (foot, shape) and you can use your fantasy to chatter the piece or give it some fancy adornment. Alas, I destroyed some of the pieces also in trimming too extensive.


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#7 Edith Marie

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:51 PM

My thoughts on Trimming, the next step to a finished pot, the piece starts to take on personality guided by unlimited imagination.

#8 Cass


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Posted 13 September 2012 - 03:32 PM

" l love it or hate it? "

llove it!

love it!ove it or hate it?"

love it!

#9 JLowes


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Posted 14 September 2012 - 11:35 AM

I am not much of a trimmer, and do not care much for it. That said, it is a necessary part of the process for certain pots, and when done properly will give a lift to the pot. I have taken to using the wiggle wire to a greater extent, and buyers appear to appreciate that as much as traditional trimming, sometimes more so. I will still trim in a little slope at the juncture of foot and surface to give some lift. With practice and imagination, one can use the wiggle wire to make lots of patterns, so I use it to compliment the form of the pot. On some pots that are more formal this techniqu is accompanied by added feet to lift the base completely off the surface. This allows me to completely glaze the bottom of the pot, which is nice feature.

I guess with all these ways to keep from trimming, I have to admit I fall more toward the dislike side.


#10 Rebel_Rocker


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Posted 23 September 2012 - 10:43 AM

When I don't make a nice bowl like I did yesterday and leave it on the dry shelf and forget about it... (tomorrow it's probably going to be too hard to do the trim it needs :( ) I don't mind it.

Trying to work on getting most of the clay removed before cutting it free though. I'd rather just clean it up than trim away a lot of clay.

#11 Mark McCombs

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 03:21 PM

Generally I like trimming. It sometimes gives me a chance to make up for poor execution when throwing.
I enjoy applying surface texture at this point or making sure I have a smooth surface.

As far as Love & Hate goes...

I hate trimming when the ware is to wet or dry. :angry:
Love it when it is in the right zone.B)
Fast Hawk Pottery

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