Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Brian Reed

Throwing Large Pots

Recommended Posts

I recently started throwing some bigger pots.  Not huge, but 20-30" tall.  I know of two methods; making multiple sections and attaching them together.  Then there is the coil method where you put a large coil and pull it up, then stack another coil and work your way up.  I have had the best luck with the first method of stacking multiple parts.  However I hand rolled my coils and think I would have better results with an extruder.

 

 

 

Here is a recent video of me making a large pot

 

 

 

Do you have any advice?

Kohaku likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also use the coil method, simply because I don't have screws in my wheel, so no working with bats. I also like to handbuild large vases. You can build much more different shapes than you can in throwing a vase.

Thank you for the video. Nicely made. It's nice to see you working so carefully. I only cringe a bit when I see you using the blowtorch too long on the same spot ;)

 

Evelyne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HERE is a blog post where I make a large-ish planter. I prefer to work with cylinders rather than coils, as it is much faster and easier to control the form. When making large 25lb jars, I throw a cylinder about 1 inch thick on a bat, opened all the way down to the bat. Then I scrape the whole thing down with a metal rib inside and out to remove any slurry from the surface. This keeps it from getting too wet while I work on the other half. I also rib the lip totally flat and smooth. I then remove that from the wheel, but do not cut it loose from the bat. Then I throw another cylinder, with a base, of the same diameter and thickness. I scrape it down as well, and again make sure the lip is smooth and flat and free of slurry. Then I flip the first cylinder (still attached to the bat) over on onto the second cylinder. There is no need to score the lip of either piece. As long as there is no slurry on the lips, they will stick just fine. I then cut the bat off of the top cylinder. Then I smooth together the join in the middle. Next I clean up the lip, which was previously the bottom of the first cylinder. Then I pull the entire thing to thin it out and make it taller, which makes the join in the middle totally disappear. Then I shape it and I'm done! The whole thing only takes about 20 minutes.

 

For big planters, I make a 7lb disc on a bat, which will be the bottom of the pot. Then I add 2 12-13 pound cylinders and pull and shape them. The next day, after it has firmed up a bit, I add another 12 pound cylinder on top of all that. Photos below.

post-6933-0-81964800-1384788345_thumb.jpg

post-6933-0-51502300-1384788347_thumb.jpg

post-6933-0-81964800-1384788345_thumb.jpg

post-6933-0-51502300-1384788347_thumb.jpg

janiebgood likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neil- I'd love to see some process photos of this.

 

When you join (and subsequently pull) the two cylinders for your jars, are they leather hard (or close to it)? It's hard for me to imagine doing the multiple 'flips' that you describe with wetware...

 

What's the tallest form you've been able to fashion with this approach?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I to prefer adding cylinders together for larger forms

I used to make larger pots but stopped years ago

You can throw the sections as Neil described and join them then finish shaping them

It works well-I let the sections dry a bit to gain some strength then invert onto the wheel head form.

I have not done much coil work

I'll add a photo of one of these pots tonight after glaze day today.

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neil- I'd love to see some process photos of this.

 

When you join (and subsequently pull) the two cylinders for your jars, are they leather hard (or close to it)? It's hard for me to imagine doing the multiple 'flips' that you describe with wetware...

 

What's the tallest form you've been able to fashion with this approach?

 

I do not let them set up at all before stacking. That's the beauty of this system- start to finish with no waiting, and you're able to shape the form all at once, instead of a little bit at a time. The cylinders on the large ones are about 3/4 inch thick, so they are plenty stable when stacked.

 

I do up to 25lb jars in one sitting this way, which gets me stacked cylinders (before shaping) that are well above my elbow. Anything much larger that doesn't hold up well to the weight/thinness. I can do these big jars in once piece, but doing them in two sections is a lot less wear on my body, and I can make them taller and thinner than in one piece. This system works well with smaller pieces, too. My students often do 5-6 pounds sections. Basically, it allows you to make a pot with twice as much clay as what you can actually center.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for the comments.

 

Oldlady - Thanks for the advice, I think I will change to that syringe method.  Perfect.

 

BigLou - about the giffin grip, I use it for vases as well as some quick trims it just goes fast.  I do most of my trimming without.  I like it, but understand when to use it and when not to.  I am very confident with tap centering if you wanted to see some of my earlier videos.  :)  I would love to try woodfire, but I do not have those facilities available to me.  I do cone 10 reduction which makes for a great porcelain product as well.

 

KoHaku - I do not let them get leather hard.  They are still pretty wet and can easily shape or pull if needed, it takes a very confident / light touch.  Which I do in this video.  I have never tried waiting until leather hard, not sure it would turn out the way I want it.  I do not want to see any seams.

 

In the video I said the walls were about 1/2 inch thick, but upon reflection it was closer to 1/4 inch.  The key is the shape so that there is strength when you move and attach them.

 

Thanks to everyone for the comments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

evelyne, you would be horrified at Del Martin who takes one of the huge gas burners out of the hole in his car kiln and turns it on inside the big pot that he is making so it firms up enough to add another section!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This pot was a two piece if I recall

Its 24 inch's tall-fired to cone 10

I used to do a lot of these but I have given up this quest for large pots as I age.

I will leave it to younger potters who have better backs.

I used to have a rubber hosed brass presto lite torch plumbed into my shop next to wheel hooked to natural gas for drying pots.

I also gave up that for making more reasonable pots for sale.

All the mondo stuff sold ok but its hard on ones body and takes so much space in kiln-in Van at show for the return I was better off with smaller pots.

I wish I had taken more photos of all the big stuff but its now in homes some where out west.

Mark

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While big pots are fun to make and a good skill to learn, they are definitely near the bottom of my list of things that sell well. You definitely have to have the right market. Not many people have space in their house for large pots, or the funds to spend hundreds on one pot. But when they do sell- $$$$$$....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for the comments.

 

Oldlady - Thanks for the advice, I think I will change to that syringe method.  Perfect.

 

BigLou - about the giffin grip, I use it for vases as well as some quick trims it just goes fast.  I do most of my trimming without.  I like it, but understand when to use it and when not to.  I am very confident with tap centering if you wanted to see some of my earlier videos.  :)  I would love to try woodfire, but I do not have those facilities available to me.  I do cone 10 reduction which makes for a great porcelain product as well.

 

KoHaku - I do not let them get leather hard.  They are still pretty wet and can easily shape or pull if needed, it takes a very confident / light touch.  Which I do in this video.  I have never tried waiting until leather hard, not sure it would turn out the way I want it.  I do not want to see any seams.

 

In the video I said the walls were about 1/2 inch thick, but upon reflection it was closer to 1/4 inch.  The key is the shape so that there is strength when you move and attach them.

 

Thanks to everyone for the comments.

Hey don't be defensive :D She's just trying to get you to unclutter your surfaces!!  So it looks good in the video! A tool is  a tool is a tool! If it works for you, use it. I had a friend who was  throwing and turning for another potter who asked her to use a Giffen Grip. She refused but at the end of a day when they were both sitting turning pots, he ended way ahead of her in numbers.Being paid by the pot, she used the grip from then on, she was no inexperienced turner!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried throwing larger forms while in grad classes at Penn State. First few of these were with thrown bottom and coils added and pulled. they got to be ladder height and were not a problem to fire with the big kilns at State. I was not satisfied with the surfaces back then and the slight inconsistencies in the form so I tried other techniques. Cylinders on bases became my favorite way of getting really larger, and I found that I could expand the form more with this technique than with coils and be consistent in the form itself. When teaching HS I found it nice to have so many wheels-throw a cylinder here, a base there, a top some where else, and put them all together on the base wheel. I could also leave them sitting on the slow turning wheels for a while to set up before assembly.

I find it interesting the different techniques folks use for drying the pots to work the form together. As each has a different set of characteristics to the clay consistency on the next stage. Toshiko with her fire inside the pot drying out the interior mostly leaving some damp on the ouside, Others with the heat guns drying the pot on the outside, and most being certain to remove slurry on the outside and inside.  Myself, I like to hang an incandescent bulb inside the pot while it is turning with a fan on the ouside blowing against the side of the pot. Between the two of these, I find the surface becomes much easier to work for me when joining and inflating the form.  These days I limit myself to single thrown pieces as my kiln will only handle about 54" in height. I love to watch well done videos of large thrown pieces, and over the years seen many that helped me develop my skills. Brian's would definetly be on a must see list for students interested in moving in this direction.

Davidpotter likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Pres, I appreciate the endorsement.  I am just learning like everyone else.  I no longer go to another persons studio on a regular basis for mentorship and have been out on my own.  I have only been doing it for a few yeas so I am still exploring. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×