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What Does Centering Clay Mean To You? | September 6, 2013

Potters Council Question of t

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#21 JLowes


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Posted 10 November 2014 - 05:39 PM

Centering means now I can get to the pulling, shaping, and that form I have in my mind. How well I centered directs how well these next steps go.  For quite a while my centering was loosely centered; just enough to start working, and rarely centered well, and then only by grace of unknown forces. 


When it finally clicked in for me was maybe three years after starting and opened a world of possibilities with no more thick-thin, no more too wet clay to pull, and less slumping from overworked clay.  Boy howdy, that was a day to remember! Robin Hopper gave me what I had been missing in a Ceramic Arts Daily video and I was off to the races.



#22 Mudslinger Ceramics

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 07:31 PM

Like JLowes, being eager to 'get on with it' I used to fight to centre the clay and would start when I thought 'near enough is good enough', would then fight to correct wobbles, slumping and uneveness accepting it as part of the unpredictable nature of clay!!


.....took nearly 4 years to 'get it!'....that if I took the time to centre well then everything that followed would flow easily from the centre of the lump itself, effortlessly and exactly as I envisioned it. I basically had to stop, backtrack and re-train myself again until I got used to the feel of well centred clay before going onto the forming stages


I can't centre well when I am agitated or distracted, those pots invariably end up in recycle but when I'm in the 'zone' the clay follows suit and we get on well from there.



Mudslinger Ceramics :   www.mudslingerceramics.net


'Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to.

It will stick with you and show up for better or for worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do.'

                                                                              - Robert Henri

#23 Cavy Fire Studios

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 09:38 PM

It means busted wrists and lots of swearing...but man, when it FINALLY decides to behave, that is such a "EUREKA" moment that I forget all the rage! :D


(This thread got bumped, lmao... I DINNINT DO IT)

"I wheek; therefore, I am."
( ' x ' )
( u u ) . . . .

#24 Natania


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Posted 13 November 2014 - 06:32 AM

I've decided that centering is a lot like parenting. It's usually a conversation, but sometimes an order!

#25 LeeU


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Posted 13 November 2014 - 10:29 PM

I tried to take the easy way out to get a clue by reading Mary Richards' book on Centering, but it was too dense and curly-cued for my fractured attention span, so I decided to figure it out for myself.


Wheel goes round & round, spinning clay by the pound. 

Lee goes "Let me join in, let me join in."

Clay sez "Sure, what can you bring to the party?" 

Lee sez "Uh, I can center you."

Clay sez, "Yeah, OK, just go ahead then." (I think Richards called it stress-on-stress and at some point talked about "yielding up the soul" or some such, and "the dance of perception".)


I tried for a Haiku but that was a bust.

Lee Ustinich






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