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Brittany

Centering?

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Brittany    0

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!

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Chris Campbell    1,088

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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Biglou13    202

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.

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JBaymore    1,432

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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Marcia Selsor    1,301

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

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nigich22    2

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.

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Biglou13    202

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.....

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MikeFaul    79

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!

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Benzine    610

 

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.

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Wyndham    98

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

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

 

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

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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.

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Pres    896

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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JBaymore    1,432

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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PotterPaul    0

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

 

 

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Chilly    330

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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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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clay lover    133

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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Chilly    330

Well after reading the above comments, spending half the weekend watching Tim Sees videos on You Tube and two hours on the wheel this moring, I can only say "Thank You" to everyone.  I think I've nearly got it.  I've also got aches in places I didn't know I had, Now I can't wait for next week, and may eventually take up the offer of a wheel from a retiring potter!

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nancylee    30

I have been throwing for 3 years, and there are days I cannot get the clay to center. Seriously, I find the clay is a barometer of what is going on in my head. If I am out of balance in my life, the clay stays unbalanced. Weird, but true for me!

Nancy

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Pres    896

Try teaching for 36 years. Even on the worst of days you had to be spot on. This meant if everything else was in chaos around you, the last thing you wanted to do was fail at a demonstration. I usually demonstrated for classes 3 times a week, 2 each day. Then there was the assistance times during the day to help a student get the feel of things by guiding them through the process, often using their hands as tools for my hands. Day in and day out there was not time for being a little off even in the early years. The easiest way to lose a class was to be there and not to look like you knew what you were doing. I think it is even tougher for teachers today as students know what a good potter looks like when centering, throwing and shaping . . . . It is all on Utube! In my day I could fudge, slightly! :rolleyes:

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Denice    243

Claylovers suggestion of changing the amount of clay that your trying to throw is a good idea.  I have really large hands and have trouble centering small amounts, my hands just seem to be in the way and the clay has disappeared beneath my massive mitts.  Denice

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