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#1 Chantay

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 12:30 AM

:DHi all, I am constantly working on my throwing. I've only
been at it a about 3 months. I'm wondering how high others have thier
wheel, and why. I'm going to try and raise mine up on some blocks
tommorrow. I am 5' 6" and currently the wheel head is about 1" below the
top of my knee as I sit at the wheel. My thighs parallel the floor.
I do get some pain after throwing but I think this is just age related. I
feel as though I should have better leverage with my upper body strenghth.
No problem centering small amounts. But, if I try and make anything larger
than a mug I have a real lack of control. I am currently taking a ceramics
class. The instructor stated that all wheels were the same height when I
asked her about adjusting the one I have at home??? Your advice is greatly
appreciated.



-chantay


- chantay

#2 Mark C.

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 01:03 AM

I use brent booties on my 3 wheels-they raise the whole whole wheel up about -5-6 inches.-they adjust to 2 heights. I'm 6 feet tall and if I was starting out again (40 years throwing) I wish I'd have learned to throw standing up. I suggest this as you are starting out.
If this does not sound or feel right at least get a stool with low back support. I throw with a special stool that pushes on low back.
It took getting used to.

they look like this Potters stool STI
http://www.bigcerami...airs/stools.htm

I also use low back office chairs on rollers to trim in.
Mark
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#3 Lucille Oka

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 01:55 AM

Everybody finds their own position for throwing mostly it is for comfort, to help you be able to throw as long as you want. There are some potter's who throw standing. This method requires bracing arms against your body especially while centering. You have to find the most comfortable position for yourself.
Steven Hill has a video where he talks about trying to find the most suitable position at which to throw. You can try out different heights but the potter's wheel must be stable as well as level. What is your brand of your wheel?


Edited by Lucille Oka, 01 November 2012 - 12:52 PM.

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".

#4 Sandra Jimison

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 05:50 AM

I have found that through the years of throwing, at first I never had back pain, but as I have gotten older I am not as flexible as I once was. It is true everyone finds there own comfort zone. I too use the Brent booties and have raised my wheel a little (maybe 4 inches). I have different stools for depending on what I am throwing. When staying relatively low, like mugs, the standard seat is fine. When I am doing taller cylinders, I prefer to be above the piece more so I don't pull it off center.

I still center on my office stool, but switch stool when I go to open.

I hope this helps.

Sandra



#5 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 07:39 AM

If you worked at the wheel for long durations, it is a good idea to get up and stretch, do a few easy yoga bends. You can also change your wheel height just to adjust/vary your body position. Change is a good thing for your back.
Marcia


#6 Pres

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:54 AM

:DHi all, I am constantly working on my throwing. I've only
been at it a about 3 months. I'm wondering how high others have thier
wheel, and why. I'm going to try and raise mine up on some blocks
tommorrow. I am 5' 6" and currently the wheel head is about 1" below the
top of my knee as I sit at the wheel. My thighs parallel the floor.
I do get some pain after throwing but I think this is just age related. I
feel as though I should have better leverage with my upper body strenghth.
No problem centering small amounts. But, if I try and make anything larger
than a mug I have a real lack of control. I am currently taking a ceramics
class. The instructor stated that all wheels were the same height when I
asked her about adjusting the one I have at home??? Your advice is greatly
appreciated.



-chantay



I throw on a Brent CXC-standard height. I am 5'8",63. I have found that a good adjustable chair is the best for that height, I like to throw tall, and get finger to armpit distance often so standing wheel is not an option. Call it topless throwing:rolleyes:. When I was teaching HS we purchased the CI potters stools that had a little dip, and lean forward some. I still have to buy one from home, but I really loved them. Others found the seat to small, but I am not large so they fit me quite well. Great position for centering and throwing.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#7 JBaymore

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:56 AM

I have mentioned this on the forum a number of times before in this kind of thread about positions in throwing.........

Have someone who knows something about throwing, ergonomics, and physiology watch you when you are throwing. (I'm lucky in this regard since I have the highest level of certification in a particular sports instruction....... the human body in motion and physics applies to many things.) A lot of the "issues" people develop over time when throwing come from a poor use of the human body for the task at hand.

Throwing is, at the very first, a totally mechanical skill .... like hitting a golf ball, turning a pair of skis or a snowboard, driving a nail into a board, and so on. It is only later that the aesthetic components overlay the mechanical skills. Some instructors of throwing tend to miss laying the solid fundamentals down first...... so things like HOW the body is being used tend to get short shrift. Plus many students (particularly here in the US) want to just "jump" to the "creativity" side of things as a shortcut without putting in the long period of hard work that the mechanical skill development deserves.

Getting the wheel height (or the seat height) adjusted a bit is certainly a part of this. But more often it is simply understanding what you are actually DOING and how that compares to the best use of the body. Sometimes it is not the seat height or the wheel height but what you are doing with your BODY. Once you know what you are doing, you can make changes in the movement patterns you are developing so that you use your body as efficiently as possible. Particularly as a beginner, this is the time to start to develop good ergonomic habits..... it is far easier to develop new movement patterns correctly than to have to go back and change long established "muscle memory".

Repetitive stress is a fact of life for anyone that works regularly using their bodies to perform various tasks. There is much useful information about this in the medical literature. Do a bit of research on "preventing repetitive stress injuries" and then take what you find out there to heart.

Marcia already hit one big point here....... seriously extended periods of doing one thing is inviting problems, no matter what that single thing is. In my throwing classes there is a "one hour limit" on sitting and throwing without getting up and doing something else for a few minutes. In my own studio I do about the same, getting up ansd moving wareboards of pots from the to racks adjacent to my wheel to the main storage racks elsewhere in the studio, making a cup of tea, checking drying work, and so on.

In my long time in teaching ceramics and in working with and associating with ceramists in general, I have seen plenty of people who attempt top "fix" one issue (like help the lower back) and then move the injury point to another body part by the changes they have made. Fix one thing and break another. If you make changes to how you approach throwing, make sure that you are not just "robbing Peter to pay Paul". I've seen plent of people who decide to "throw standing up" shift the injury zone to their knees, ankles, or particularly the wrists. (If you go to throwing standing up, research John Glick's setup for this. THAT is how it should be done.)

To answer your exact question.... for me (5' 8", male, 63 years young) I set my butt height (the center level of the seat surface) at the height of the top surface of the wheelhead (or bat surface) plus about 1 inch additional. When I am working in Japan this relationship is just about the same to the standard "throwing stations" that you see in most potteries there; the flat deck surrouinding the wheelhead (wheel sitting down in the "pit") and then a small thin zabuton (cushion) to sit on. When I am demoing at the college, I use bat(s) on the flat-top stools to get the level correct for me..... and have students do this also as needed to adjust their positions.

I use a Brent CXC and it is set on the floor at the "standard height". Another very important important point in my home studio is that I use a seat that has an angled seating surface that tips the pelvis forward (CI Potters Stool). And I do not "round" my back and hunch over the wheel.... I tip the upper body forward toward the wheel by breaking at the hip joints. Both of these help to maintain the natural curvature of the lower spine.... the place that most throwers have their "back problems". I have also modified the backrest on that CI stool to have it more forward from the position it comes in. And my upper back is also kept pretty straight.... the shoulders are not "rounded" either. This kind of position also "happens" (heh...heh....heh.....ergonomics) to give you the most freedom of movement of the upper extremities and the best use of the muscles in the upper body......which helps with the pure mechanical aspects of throwing.

best,

..............john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#8 Chantay

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 10:55 AM

Thanks for all of your replys. I already get up frequently. Throwing standing up is not an option, bad feet. I have worked in the health care field and have and know enough that there has to be an 'ergonomicaly correct' way to throw. I will raise my wheel some and definetly get a new stool. I think I will also go talk to a women who I know teaches throwing and get her advice. Thanks again.



-chantay


- chantay

#9 Brian Reed

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 12:38 PM

I am 6' tall and over weight. I have an issue with lower wheels because of my belly getting in the way and the strain on my back forcing my body down there. I have tried standing, but do not feel comfortable and stable enough. I put 2" block under each of the legs of my wheel and that seems to have done the trick.

I have a shimpo M750.
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Throwing down in Washington State

http://www.reedpottery.com

Northwest Clay Club

#10 Lucille Oka

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 12:58 PM

It is difficult to say that there must be one ergonomic way to throw; we are all different physically, a comfortable stance for me may not be comfortable for you. You must find your own best way to throw. Try different ways and discover which way feels good to you. Then get to work.


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".

#11 JBaymore

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 02:42 PM

It is difficult to say that there must be one ergonomic way to throw;


I guess I did not express myself clearly because that is absolutely correct, and I never said that there was only ONE way, because ergonomics DEALS with the makeup of the specific situation which will take into account the specific person's physiology, and the tasks being done. That is part of looking at the situation.

best,

..............john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#12 Diane Puckett

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 03:39 PM

My stool has a lever to adjust the height, and I find occasionally raising or lowering the stool is very helpful.
Diane Puckett
Dry Ridge Pottery

#13 Lucille Oka

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 06:27 PM


It is difficult to say that there must be one ergonomic way to throw;


I guess I did not express myself clearly because that is absolutely correct, and I never said that there was only ONE way, because ergonomics DEALS with the makeup of the specific situation which will take into account the specific person's physiology, and the tasks being done. That is part of looking at the situation.

best,

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



No offense John, I didn't read your post. I just read the one from the original poster. I took a look at your post; the print was so small and there was a lot of it. It just hurt my eyes. I couldn't do it just now, maybe later.
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".

#14 Kabe

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 07:19 PM

My stool has a lever to adjust the height, and I find occasionally raising or lowering the stool is very helpful.



Diane has a strong point. It is a lot easier to adjust your chair than to raise and lower the wheel, no matter what height you end up at. Happy firing Kabe

#15 Diane Puckett

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 07:35 PM


My stool has a lever to adjust the height, and I find occasionally raising or lowering the stool is very helpful.



Diane has a strong point. It is a lot easier to adjust your chair than to raise and lower the wheel, no matter what height you end up at. Happy firing Kabe


I do have two bricks under each leg of my wheel. I have arthritis in my knees and find it is easier to not have them so flexed for hours at a time. Adjusting my stool height is especially helpful for taller pots. I can use the same stool at full height for handbuilding at counter height or lower it if I need something more at eye level. It is much better to adjust my stool height than to contort my body to see or reach something.
Diane Puckett
Dry Ridge Pottery

#16 Pres

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 08:55 AM

I have mentioned this on the forum a number of times before in this kind of thread about positions in throwing.........

Have someone who knows something about throwing, ergonomics, and physiology watch you when you are throwing. (I'm lucky in this regard since I have the highest level of certification in a particular sports instruction....... the human body in motion and physics applies to many things.) A lot of the "issues" people develop over time when throwing come from a poor use of the human body for the task at hand.

Throwing is, at the very first, a totally mechanical skill .... like hitting a golf ball, turning a pair of skis or a snowboard, driving a nail into a board, and so on. It is only later that the aesthetic components overlay the mechanical skills. Some instructors of throwing tend to miss laying the solid fundamentals down first...... so things like HOW the body is being used tend to get short shrift. Plus many students (particularly here in the US) want to just "jump" to the "creativity" side of things as a shortcut without putting in the long period of hard work that the mechanical skill development deserves.

Getting the wheel height (or the seat height) adjusted a bit is certainly a part of this. But more often it is simply understanding what you are actually DOING and how that compares to the best use of the body. Sometimes it is not the seat height or the wheel height but what you are doing with your BODY. Once you know what you are doing, you can make changes in the movement patterns you are developing so that you use your body as efficiently as possible. Particularly as a beginner, this is the time to start to develop good ergonomic habits..... it is far easier to develop new movement patterns correctly than to have to go back and change long established "muscle memory".

Repetitive stress is a fact of life for anyone that works regularly using their bodies to perform various tasks. There is much useful information about this in the medical literature. Do a bit of research on "preventing repetitive stress injuries" and then take what you find out there to heart.

Marcia already hit one big point here....... seriously extended periods of doing one thing is inviting problems, no matter what that single thing is. In my throwing classes there is a "one hour limit" on sitting and throwing without getting up and doing something else for a few minutes. In my own studio I do about the same, getting up ansd moving wareboards of pots from the to racks adjacent to my wheel to the main storage racks elsewhere in the studio, making a cup of tea, checking drying work, and so on.

In my long time in teaching ceramics and in working with and associating with ceramists in general, I have seen plenty of people who attempt top "fix" one issue (like help the lower back) and then move the injury point to another body part by the changes they have made. Fix one thing and break another. If you make changes to how you approach throwing, make sure that you are not just "robbing Peter to pay Paul". I've seen plent of people who decide to "throw standing up" shift the injury zone to their knees, ankles, or particularly the wrists. (If you go to throwing standing up, research John Glick's setup for this. THAT is how it should be done.)

To answer your exact question.... for me (5' 8", male, 63 years young) I set my butt height (the center level of the seat surface) at the height of the top surface of the wheelhead (or bat surface) plus about 1 inch additional. When I am working in Japan this relationship is just about the same to the standard "throwing stations" that you see in most potteries there; the flat deck surrouinding the wheelhead (wheel sitting down in the "pit") and then a small thin zabuton (cushion) to sit on. When I am demoing at the college, I use bat(s) on the flat-top stools to get the level correct for me..... and have students do this also as needed to adjust their positions.

I use a Brent CXC and it is set on the floor at the "standard height". Another very important important point in my home studio is that I use a seat that has an angled seating surface that tips the pelvis forward (CI Potters Stool). And I do not "round" my back and hunch over the wheel.... I tip the upper body forward toward the wheel by breaking at the hip joints. Both of these help to maintain the natural curvature of the lower spine.... the place that most throwers have their "back problems". I have also modified the backrest on that CI stool to have it more forward from the position it comes in. And my upper back is also kept pretty straight.... the shoulders are not "rounded" either. This kind of position also "happens" (heh...heh....heh.....ergonomics) to give you the most freedom of movement of the upper extremities and the best use of the muscles in the upper body......which helps with the pure mechanical aspects of throwing.

best,

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


Wow John, when I analyze my seating position in reference to what you state your preferred position is, they are almost exactly alike. I am also happy that someone else, whose opinion I respect, finds the CI potters stool helpful.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#17 Chantay

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 07:05 PM

So, for an update: I raised my wheel a small amount, so that the wheel head is level with my butt. For now I added some pieces of pvc to the back to legs of my stool so that it has a slight tilt to the seat. These changes made a huge difference. I was able to throw several hours without any back pain, with several breaks of course. Thanks again to everyone who replied.

-chantay




- chantay

#18 Surubee

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:45 PM

I find that using a brick under my left foot helps keep me balanced and gives me more control when using my right foot on the foot pedal.

#19 Ben

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 10:16 AM

http://www.studiopot...es/?art=art0008

worth a read

#20 JBaymore

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 10:37 AM

I've seen plent of people who decide to "throw standing up" shift the injury zone to their knees, ankles, or particularly the wrists. (If you go to throwing standing up, research John Glick's setup for this. THAT is how it should be done.)


Ben,

That is one of the articles about Glick's set-up which is why I mentioned him in the above posting I had made. Thanks for finding it online.

best,

.......................john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com




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