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Centering?


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#1 Brittany

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 03:05 PM

I have been practicing throwing for about a week now and I haven't quite mastered centering. Now I know that it's supposed to take a while to be able to just center the peice in less than 5 minutes, but I was wonering if you guys had pointers or extra things that could help move me along. I usually use the pulling technique. Thanks!





#2 Brittany

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 03:37 PM

* Coning, not pulling.





#3 Chris Campbell

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 03:44 PM

I highly recommend using u tube videos ... There are so many out there where you can watch up close and learn.
Also use the Ceramic Arts Daily link above to find more tutorials.
Have fun!

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#4 Biglou13

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 04:20 PM

It's difficult enough to show someone how to center, prolly even more so on a forum, but give this a whirl.

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon(clay). That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon (clay).
Neo: There is no spoon (clay)?
Spoon boy: Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon(clay) that bends(centers), it is only yourself.

matrix 1999

* do not center to the wheel head, pay no attention to wheel head, when putting pressure conentrate more on the feel the clay, centering
* center clay direct on wheel head for now there are circles there, turn wheel slowly with clay ball cetered on circle. tap with both hands, clap the clay this will get you 95% there, then push some clay at bottom of cone of clay, or cylinder ish, with one finger to bat, smear a little clay to bat, all the way around cone this helps seal clay to bat.

*wet clay once, brace elbow to hip usually right elbow, strong arm, strong hand, , with wheel turning hands loosely on cone, get clay slip to covered both hands, rub hands together

*with both hands on clay medium pressure moving downward to bat, seals clay to bat.

*inhale hold breath, lean into clay with right/strong hand just above before feeling the wheel, opposite hand just guides clay not much pressure also not touching wheel.

* when you feel it center and rotation get smooth, exhale relax pressure gradaually

*increase pressure with both hands to cone up. or skip to opening

*knife hand push more pressure opposite guide hand minimal pressure on clay both arms braced on legs or (splash pan ...sorry jim) form puck

*always relax pressure, and move hand gradually away from clay. think soft hands slowly pull away.

usually at step 5 its centered, from first clap to center is usually under 2 minutes.

10 pounds or more it takes slightly longer.

have someone check your clay's consistency if you continually have issues too wet and too dry can be problematic.
Caution big brother is watching.
The beige is blinding!!!!!!
The middle of the road is boring

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#5 JBaymore

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 07:23 PM

Thoughts..........

Centering is a dance WITH the clay, not a case of imposing your will ON the clay.

Close your eyes often and feel what your partner is doing

Moderate to SLOW wheel speed.

No abrupt movements...... pressure builds and pressure is released gradually. Centering is about a dynamic balancing of forces.

best,

..............john
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#6 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 09:23 PM

It took me three months to get it. I had puny arms at 17, but I turned my forearms into Popeye's at three months. Big Lou's pointers are great.
To center cone up and then push into a hemisphere down,
cone up, hemisphere down, cone up , hemisphere down. Three or four of those and it should get centered. Uneveness comes out at the bottom when centering. use a modeling stick the get rid or it so your hands can stay steady. once you start pulling up, the Uneveness comes to the lip. Trim with a needle tool.
Marcia

#7 nigich22

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 10:59 PM

I might be stating the obvious here but the video on the front page of the site about throwing the perfect cylinder has a centering component that might be helpful. If it had been a snake it would have bit ya.



#8 Biglou13

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 04:35 AM

It took me three months to get it. I had puny arms at 17, but I turned my forearms into Popeye's at three months. benzine's pointers are great.
To center cone up and then push into a hemisphere down,
cone up, hemisphere Down, cone up , hemisphere down. Three or four of those and it should get centered. Uneveness comes out at the bottom when centering. use a modeling stick the get rid or it so your hands can stay steady. once you start pulling up, the Uneveness comes to the lip. rim with a needle tool.
Marcia


Great advice as always
Can't seem to find benzine's pointers.....
Caution big brother is watching.
The beige is blinding!!!!!!
The middle of the road is boring

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
-Albert Einstein

#9 MikeFaul

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:52 AM

A couple of things that helped me out were...

 

1. After coning up, rib the base of the cone to clean up extra clay. I have no idea why this helps, but it does...

 

2. Start with smaller amounts of clay... I began with a single pound of clay.

 

3. Splurge on a bag of clay, wedge it, and form it into 25 one pound balls of clay.

 

4. Center a ball of clay, and then remove it from the wheel head, do not open the clay, just center it.

 

5. Move to the next, cone and center that ball... Repeat until you've done it 25 times (25 balls of 1 pound each)

 

Of course, you may not be as weird as I am, so you could do 6, 8 or 10 balls in one sitting and not an entire bag of clay. My coach told me that a big mistake was to center, open, and pull... Moving onto other steps doesn't build feel and muscle memory as quickly as just taking one step and mastering it. So, let's say you're working with 6 balls of clay, once you've completed centering all of them, go back to first and open it, set it aside and move to the second. Repeat until all of the balls are open, then repeat for pulling, shaping, ribbing, etc. The idea is to build muscle memory for each step.

 

Just a suggestion, I'm more of a student than a teacher... But, this exercise totally changed my relationship with clay. Oh, and once you've done the one pound balls, move to 1.5 pound balls, then 2 pound balls, increasing the amount of clay you can center with each sitting. Once you get to about 2 pounds, go back to a single pound of clay and see how easy it is compared to the 2 pounds you just practiced with... 

 

More than anything be patient with yourself and have fun!



#10 Benzine

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 08:52 AM

It took me three months to get it. I had puny arms at 17, but I turned my forearms into Popeye's at three months. benzine's pointers are great.
To center cone up and then push into a hemisphere down,
cone up, hemisphere Down, cone up , hemisphere down. Three or four of those and it should get centered. Uneveness comes out at the bottom when centering. use a modeling stick the get rid or it so your hands can stay steady. once you start pulling up, the Uneveness comes to the lip. rim with a needle tool.
Marcia


Great advice as always
Can't seem to find benzine's pointers.....

Nor can I. I've apparently gotten to the point, where I post so much, I don't even remember it.

I did offer centering advice in another topic, a while back. Maybe that's what Marcia is recalling. I don't recall exactly what I said, in that topic, but no doubt it was brilliant.

Mike, I like to clean up the base of the clay as well. I tend just to use my finger though.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#11 Wyndham

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 01:09 PM

Start off with softer rather than firmer clay. You have to build up muscle memory and that comes with practice as well as all post above. Take the time to learn what clay feels like. Enjoy the tactile response. Take a break and rest a bit from time to time.

Wyndham



#12 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 01:15 PM

It took me three months to get it. I had puny arms at 17, but I turned my forearms into Popeye's at three months. benzine's pointers are great.
To center cone up and then push into a hemisphere down,
cone up, hemisphere Down, cone up , hemisphere down. Three or four of those and it should get centered. Uneveness comes out at the bottom when centering. use a modeling stick the get rid or it so your hands can stay steady. once you start pulling up, the Uneveness comes to the lip. rim with a needle tool.
Marcia


Great advice as always
Can't seem to find benzine's pointers.....

Sorry, I meant you, Big Lou! I edited it.I am juggling way too much stuff right now. I apologize. You gave excellent advice.Just like I got TJR and Jim mixed up, now it's you two.Senior moment.I really wish I could put faces and identities with people. Maybe I wouldn't get them so mixed up.Wyndham suggests softer clay which is a good idea when starting out.

Marcia

#13 Biglou13

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 06:48 PM

I knew what u meant. I was just yankin your chain. Some one has to stir up
Caution big brother is watching.
The beige is blinding!!!!!!
The middle of the road is boring

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
-Albert Einstein

#14 Diane Puckett

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 04:01 PM

And even after years of throwing, there will still be days you will sit down at the wheel and be unable to even come close to centering anything. On those days you are better off just going for a long walk. Must be the Clay Goddess saying you need a day off.
Diane Puckett
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#15 Pres

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:11 AM

I taught HS students to throw by getting them to do "mastering" a first step to centering. This as ben said is to push the clay up, and then back down again, repeating several times. this step gets a beginner to understand how much pressure will move the clay, and how the drag of too much pressure can rip off the clay. At the same time "mastering becomes an easy prelude to centering because as you do the mastering correctly telling the clay who is boss, you center the clay on the push down motion.  The other thing I used to do for kids having trouble centering was to blindfold them with a handkerchief. This got them to ignore the wheel head, their vision sense, and to concentrate on the feel of the clay.


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#16 JBaymore

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:38 AM

The other thing I used to do for kids having trouble centering was to blindfold them with a handkerchief. This got them to ignore the wheel head, their vision sense, and to concentrate on the feel of the clay.


This is useful for everyone. I use it all the time too.

best,

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

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#17 PotterPaul

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 12:46 PM

I had problems as well.  I suggest watching Tim See videos on you tube.  He helped me a lot and now I don't even think about it, it just happens.  Simon Leech is another great source, also on youtube.

 

Cheers

 

 



#18 Chilly

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 09:56 AM

A couple of things that helped me out were...

 

1. After coning up, rib the base of the cone to clean up extra clay. I have no idea why this helps, but it does...

 

2. Start with smaller amounts of clay... I began with a single pound of clay.

 

3. Splurge on a bag of clay, wedge it, and form it into 25 one pound balls of clay.

 

4. Center a ball of clay, and then remove it from the wheel head, do not open the clay, just center it.

 

5. Move to the next, cone and center that ball... Repeat until you've done it 25 times (25 balls of 1 pound each)

 

Of course, you may not be as weird as I am, so you could do 6, 8 or 10 balls in one sitting and not an entire bag of clay. My coach told me that a big mistake was to center, open, and pull... Moving onto other steps doesn't build feel and muscle memory as quickly as just taking one step and mastering it. So, let's say you're working with 6 balls of clay, once you've completed centering all of them, go back to first and open it, set it aside and move to the second. Repeat until all of the balls are open, then repeat for pulling, shaping, ribbing, etc. The idea is to build muscle memory for each step.

 

Just a suggestion, I'm more of a student than a teacher... But, this exercise totally changed my relationship with clay. Oh, and once you've done the one pound balls, move to 1.5 pound balls, then 2 pound balls, increasing the amount of clay you can center with each sitting. Once you get to about 2 pounds, go back to a single pound of clay and see how easy it is compared to the 2 pounds you just practiced with... 

 

More than anything be patient with yourself and have fun!

 

I've been playing on the wheel on and off, once a week, since just before last xmas and still haven't got the hang of centering.  Next week I'm going to try the 25 balls of clay method.


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#19 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:20 PM

The best thing that helped me learn to center is not to look at the clay. Be sure to lean over the clay (that helps me) but I try to avoid looking at it... I look out into the room or go into thought. It's easy to center if you are going by feel vs sight. 


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#20 clay lover

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 07:16 AM

Idea that helped my, put your hands on the clay and wait, it will come to you.  wait for it , while you stay in the same spot. When it arrives at the shape of your hands,you will feel it,  then release it SLOWLY. This approach uses patience more that strength.

I also pat it into shape as much as I can without water, so that when I do put my hands on it, much of the wobble is gone.

one other thought, I find the 1 lb difficult to center, so small.  the 2 lb is easier, to my way of thinking. .






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