Posted 26 November 2013 - 10:08 AM
A quick and dirty list of suggestions.
Do the dropping of the bag, cutting into 3" cubes, pat to round.
Take a clean bat and a permanent magic marker, spinning the wheel, draw concentric circles on bat, from close to center, outward, several concentric rings.
Dampen the bat,stop it and slap the clay onto the bat, using the circles to get it close to center.
Look at the circles you drew and see where the clay is out of round the most. Slap it closer to round, with the wheel still. This helps eliminate much of the wobble you struggle with in getting the ball centered. As you get better, you can eliminate this step, but the circles will always help.
Start the wheel, wet your hands press them onto the clay pushing toward the center of the wheel. WAIT, holding your hands as still as possible. Brace elbows,arms on whatever works for you,knees,splash pan.
You will feel the clay starting to seem 'quieter,as that happens, all else will get easier.
When you start to cone up, do it slowly so as not to make a spiral in the clay that will then throw you off.
If this is all too preliminary for you. sorry. Let me know. Every potter started the same way, struggling with a little lump of clay.