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What direction is your wheel spinning?


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#1 Claypple

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:11 PM

Hi! Why do we have the pottery wheels spinning counter-wise?
I am right handed and find it more comfortable to work on the clock-wise spinning wheel.

#2 Biglou13

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:33 PM

Hi! Why do we have the pottery wheels spinning counter-wise?
I am right handed and find it more comfortable to work on the clock-wise spinning wheel.


Many wheels are reversible, spin both ways via switch. Japanese potters tend clockwise. I've also wondered why majority of western potters work counterclockwise.
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#3 yedrow

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 10:34 PM

If you don't have a reversing switch I think you can make one with a bridge rectifier.

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#4 Pompots

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:17 AM

Interesting thought. I'm going to try the clock-wise spinning mode. Will let you know how it worked for me.

#5 TJR

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:24 AM

Clayppl;
Don't be switching your wheel to clockwise and training yourself to throw that way. If you do this, no one will be able to help you with techniques. When you watch youtube, you will have to reverse everything. All of us in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, etc throw counter clockwise. Lots of wheels only move in one direction-counter clockwise. If you lived in Japan and China, you would be O.K. going the other direction.
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#6 Claypple

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 09:29 AM

Clayppl;
Don't be switching your wheel to clockwise and training yourself to throw that way. If you do this, no one will be able to help you with techniques. When you watch youtube, you will have to reverse everything. All of us in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, etc throw counter clockwise. Lots of wheels only move in one direction-counter clockwise. If you lived in Japan and China, you would be O.K. going the other direction.
TJR.


Thank you, I appreciate your concern!
I mostly learn from the youtube, and there is one really good instructor:
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=UNR7dDJs6K4
whose explanations make sense and works. (Especially about the 3-6 o'clock smily zone)
The only problem is : he is left handed and works on a counter-wise spinning wheel!



#7 neilestrick

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 11:39 AM

It's not about right or left handed. It's about cultural differences. Western cultures typically throw counter-clockwise, Eastern cultures clockwise. Learn to throw counter clockwise, since you may find yourself in another studio someday for a workshop or such, and the wheels may not reverse.
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#8 R Fraser

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 12:31 PM

I thought is was like toilets flushing and tropical storm rotation, it depends on your location relative to the equator?
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#9 Nancy S.

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:26 PM

Well, I don't have any actual scientific fact or study to back this up, but here's my educated guess based on what I know of kinesiology:

The "dominant" or "active" hand (right hand in a right-handed person, left hand in a lefty) is better suited for fine motor skills like writing, design carving, etc. The "passive" hand (the left hand in a righty; right hand in a lefty) is better suited for what is called "gross motor movements," using large muscle groups. Many times, the passive arm is actually a tiny bit stronger than the active arm. The body adapts to have a 'right tool for the right job' -- the passive hand does the brute force work so that your active hand doesn't get damaged (which would make it unable to do those fine motor skills).

Applied to pottery, as a right-handed person I am better able to center clay using my left hand - a gross motor movement, brute force. The counter-clockwise motion of the wheel brings the clay toward the heel of my left hand, making it easier for me to maneuver the clay without it catching on my hand. My right hand holds tools (fine motor movement) at an angle to the clay such that as the clay comes around (counter-clockwise), it again does not catch on the tool. If I were trying to do a scribbley design on a clockwise-moving wheel, I'd have to hold the tool at a very different angle to keep it from jabbing into the pot as the clay moves *toward* me instead of *away* from me on the right side.

A left-handed friend of mine who also does pottery has her wheel going clockwise for the same reasons, just reversed. Posted Image Some lefties will throw "right-handed" (counter-clockwise wheel) in the same way that some southpaw athletes will do things right-handed.

I know very little about Asian pottery techniques; maybe they don't do the same things to their pots as Westerners do. Maybe they have a cultural tendency toward something closer to ambidextrousness (even if you aren't born ambidextrous, you can train yourself to do more with your passive hand -- I knew a gal in college who learned to write with both hands because the nuns always took the pencil out of her left hand and put it into her right!). Not that it's good or bad, just different.

I suppose that if your wheel is reversible, you can do what works best for you. And if it's not, you just have to adapt your techniques to work with what you have....

#10 Idaho Potter

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 06:49 PM

Several years ago I was teaching a class of 10 to 14 year old girls. Three of ten were lefties. It turned out to be easier for me to learn left hand throwing (clockwise) than to burden them with changing their dominate hand. Worked out well for all four of us. The second round of classes I explained why we in America work counter-clockwise, and because of classes and workshops later in life it would be wise to learn both ways. One girl was so promising at ten years of age, I figure she'll be studying in Japan, Korea, or China someday and won't have problems adjusting to eastern methods. I will still occasionally work the other way as it seems to relieve some of my back problems--maybe just the fact that I'm leaning and stretching the muscles on the other side.

Shirley

#11 Claypple

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 10:13 PM

It's not about right or left handed. It's about cultural differences. Western cultures typically throw counter-clockwise, Eastern cultures clockwise. Learn to throw counter clockwise, since you may find yourself in another studio someday for a workshop or such, and the wheels may not reverse.


Apparently in this culture the wheel rotation and hand dominance have little relevance.
But Nancy is so right about the non-dominant hand been in-charge of gross-motor functions.
It works like a stabilizer, and because of that, it should be easier to center on the counter-wise wheel. (Like we all do)
However, (since the dominant hand is leading in the fine motor) making a bowl, e.g. theoretically should be easier on the clock-wise spinning wheel.


What I caught myself doing lately is that I use both rotations depending on what I am doing:
if I trim, I use clock-wise switch. When I lift at the right side of the vessel, I switch it to counter-wise.
When I lift at the left side, I switch it to clock-wise.

Heck with the culture! Let's all become cosmopolitans! Posted Image

#12 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 08:24 AM

I always considered throwing to be a bilateral skill.
However, many here are left handed, myself included. I throw with the wheel going counter clockwise. As for a left handed advantage, I kiddingly say the inside of my pots are very strong forms.

Marcia

#13 JBaymore

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 08:48 AM

I generally throw counter-clockwise. It is how I learned. It is typically how I teach also......but can go the other way if I find it absolutely necessary with a student. Sometimes I trim clockwise (Japanese/Korean trick to raise the tooth of the clay on the foot). Spent some time learning to throw clockwise at least a bit before I went to Japan many years ago... so I would not make a fool out of myself if I HAD to use a clockwise only wheel.

It is a cultural tradition. No "magic" inherent in either direction.

best,

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#14 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 02:41 PM

mine is counter clockwise.
I am a lefty (handed that is ;) ) I tend to adapt easily and have been curious about kicking my wheel clockwise just to try it out. I do everything aside from writing with my right hand.
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#15 Pres

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 09:59 PM

I generally throw counter-clockwise. It is how I learned. It is typically how I teach also......but can go the other way if I find it absolutely necessary with a student. Sometimes I trim clockwise (Japanese/Korean trick to raise the tooth of the clay on the foot). Spent some time learning to throw clockwise at least a bit before I went to Japan many years ago... so I would not make a fool out of myself if I HAD to use a clockwise only wheel.

It is a cultural tradition. No "magic" inherent in either direction.

best,

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


I am able to throw either way, but prefer counter-clockwise also as I learned that way also. Over the years, I have had many lefties, so taught myself one weekend. I often use the clockwise wheel for burnishing and smoothing feet etc.

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#16 jrgpots

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:18 PM

I'm a lefty and started throwing on a Soldner kick wheel. My left foot had more stamina than my right. I therefore threw left handed. My hand positions or fine motor vs gross motor skins played no part in the decision. It was that my left foot felt better kicking.

#17 Vcope

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:20 PM

The reasoning behind the Oriental clockwise direction is historical, as I understand. Originally wheels were turned with a stick inserted into the actual wheel head (similar to some pictures I've seen from Africa) to initiate the spinning, the clay was put on for quick throwing and this process was repeated, so if you were to try to do this you would probably use your right hand and move the vertical, inserted stick and wheel head clockwise.

I learned from a text book pictures and than a Japanese potter so I throw clockwise. Mark Peters ( I think I have tha name right, potter on YouTube and now with his own videos, appears to throw clockwise also. I like having my dominate hand ® inside the pot. It is tricky though to trim on a foam bat because your right hand has to cross over or you have to trim counterclockwise.

#18 Jbo

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:23 PM

Clayppl;
Don't be switching your wheel to clockwise and training yourself to throw that way. If you do this, no one will be able to help you with techniques.
TJR.


As a lefty who throws with the wheel going clockwise, I disagree slightly with this. I have no problem learning from others who throw counter-clockwise--the key for me at least is to just sit opposite them to watch. But then, like most leftys, I am very very used to living in a right-handed world, and forcing myself to translate techniques, etc., on a daily basis. translating throwing techniques is NOTHING compared to fighting with a 3-ring binder.

#19 Claypple

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:12 AM


Clayppl;
Don't be switching your wheel to clockwise and training yourself to throw that way. If you do this, no one will be able to help you with techniques.
TJR.


As a lefty who throws with the wheel going clockwise, I disagree slightly with this. I have no problem learning from others who throw counter-clockwise--the key for me at least is to just sit opposite them to watch. But then, like most leftys, I am very very used to living in a right-handed world, and forcing myself to translate techniques, etc., on a daily basis. translating throwing techniques is NOTHING compared to fighting with a 3-ring binder.



I agree with you. Converting the image while learning is a good healthy challenge for your brain.
Actually, we all do it when we are watching somebody when we are in front of the person. (I mean, his left is on your right, etc)

I appreciate all of the above concerns and advices, though.

#20 lindajb

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:08 PM

Potter's wheels spin counter-clockwise for righties because this way, as the clay rotates it meets the soft (yet strong) palm of your dominant right hand first, then slips through to the fingertips. If the wheel spun clockwise, the clay would encounter more resistance and more variables (and be more likely to catch) as it hit your fingertips first. Ever try throwing with the wheel reversed? It's hard, even for a seasoned potter!




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