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How Do You "open Up"


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#1 Pres

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 11:13 AM

There have been a lot strands about learning how to throw. Lately, I have been throwing some larger(8-10#) bowls for Christmas, and returned to an old technique I used when working at Penn State. Back then I was throwing 20-25# bowls and learned to use my elbow to open up for the bowls. I also used my fist to open up for large cylinders, even trying the punch technique to open up. Usually I open up using the middle finger, or the middle two or three. When I first started throwing I always used my thumb to open up, but found later that other techniques worked better for me. I still use the thumb to open up for throwing off the hump since I make a pancake with the thumb and then raise the sides. Just wondering, what do other people do to open up for different forms?


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#2 Benzine

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 12:58 PM

For smaller forms, I use a single finger for the beginning of the opening, and the then two thumbs, to widen.

 

For medium forms, I just use the two thumbs.

 

For larger forms, I start with the thumbs, then do the the "one hand cupped against the outer wall, with the other hand over the top, pulling towards that outer hand.

 

I've never done anything so big, that those methods haven't worked. 


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#3 Mart

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 02:34 PM

I use two thumbs but the right one is doing all the work, when opening. I go in (start) with two thumbs too, fingernails facing each other but I am not happy with this because thumbs can not reach deep enough.

#4 Wyndham

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 03:56 PM

I was taught to use 2 fingers on rt hand to open braced over left hand to open most smaller (up to 2 or 3 lbs).

Because of getting older, I also use a centering arm that allows for leverage in centering the clay.

 

On larger forms I ball a fist cover with left hand and pull out a depressed pancake, keeping my arms tucked tight to my body so that my body takes the load instead of my arms and fingers.

If I do larger pieces I'll work in sections as in a lamp or vase.

I then use a rib under to lift the clay up to a side wall.

If I'm making a plate or pie dish, I'll pull the piece out to about 10 in and lift the sides for a plate or pie dish. This keeps my wrist from the strain of opening with fingers out to the 10 in point.

Wyndham



#5 PSC

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 05:02 PM

Regular lumps: my thumb, go down to bottom then thumb knuckle braced with thumb on other hand, push to side. Larger forms four fingers pushed firmly together, make indention, go to bottom, lean back, let your weight open the form for you.

#6 jrgpots

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 06:26 PM

Left Index and middle finger supported by the right thumb web to form the center hole, then two thumbs to open up. I would love to see pres opening with his elbow!

Jed

#7 ayjay

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 06:35 PM

I use my thumb for an initial depression (maybe a half inch deep)  and then two fingers (index and middle):  I was taught that the thumb was the only correct way but have since realised that there is very little that is sacrosanct with regards to throwing - whatever works best for you is the right way.



#8 Pres

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 07:45 PM

I would love to see pres opening with his elbow!

Jed

Hmmm still trying to figure out how to do the video for my entry in the 12 inch club. Don' want to look like such a lousy housekeeper in my messy crowded studio.


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#9 Biglou13

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 09:08 PM

Some whiskey or bourbon, even beer, will get me to "open up"
Caution big brother is watching.
The beige is blinding!!!!!!
The middle of the road is boring

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#10 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 12:55 AM

Haha BIglou!!  

 

I have wanted to make some videos just to get feedback from more experienced potters. I have trouble picking a finger because my fingernails ruin the bottoms and I constantly have to compress them.  


Learning On my Kick wheel with my vintage Paragon (from the late 1960's)

#11 Mark C.

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 01:08 AM

I open all size forms with my index and next finger on Rt hand-Just threw some larger 18-20 # bowls with the same two fingers as I do with a 1# bowl

I do use my thumb some on larger forms -I do not think about it anymore

Like getting dressed in am-the cloths just go on I have to think back -oh ya socks 1st on.

Mark


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#12 Babs

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 02:06 AM

Hmm similar action for small forms, two thumbs, nails facing, then right thumb dominates the final opening. But being self taught, for large platters and shallow, large bowls, I use the heel of my right hand to initially press down to the required depth, then continuing with that heel I push away from myself against the guidance of the left hand to the desired width of the floor of the platter, plate or large shallow bowl.

When I first sat at a wheel I wanted my hands to be on the opposite side of the clay. A friend said that that was all wrong! I am left handed in a lot of practical stuff, and my right handed writing is illegible, something to do with my early teacher...

Since found that I could have sourced a wheel which turns in the oppposite direction! In fact one wheel I had would do this from time to time of its own acord, quite disturbing late at nightt!



#13 Biglou13

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 04:54 AM

Haha BIglou!!  
 
I have wanted to make some videos just to get feedback from more experienced potters. I have trouble picking a finger because my fingernails ruin the bottoms and I constantly have to compress them.


You can't have nails and do pottery......
I have same issue but keep,nails short, and compress, re compress , recompress, recompress.
I can sometime cheat at angle finger but usually end up recompressing anyway.
I use index middle, for initial opening and all three to open to to size.
I'm surprised no one here has talked about tools.
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 TJR

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 09:12 AM

I use the index finger and the next finger of my left hand. I open, and pull up inwardly in one smooth motion. Usually three pulls make the pot if it's a one pounder. The I rib it with a wooden rib and cut it off.

Pants, I put on one leg at a time.

Bourbon- no. Tried it, a lot, don't like it. Single malt Scotch in moderation will open me up.

TJR.



#15 Joy pots

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:40 AM

Thumb then index &middle finger to compress. Plates I open & spread with a wet sponge in my fist & little finger of right hand down.
Clothes one day left sock other day right.
I prefer wine.

#16 ayjay

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:45 AM


Like getting dressed in am-the cloths just go on I have to think back -oh ya socks 1st on.

 

Undercrackers first - it looks like the last chicken in the shop - put it away. ;)



#17 Celia UK

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 05:33 PM

I agree with Biglou not such a compromise for men as the ladies among us. I do hand and nail care in the hospital as a Brutish Red Cross volunteer and am continually explaining why my own nails are so short! However, it's always a good conversation starter.

#18 Pres

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 05:51 PM

When I was throwing for months at a time, I never had a nail problem, they wore down! I guess I like to use my nails like tools-fitting into small areas when trimming(perfect for an accent ring), using the back side of the thumbnail to burnish trimmed areas of pot where a handle will not reach, cleaning a little clay nurds off of the wheel head when centering. So many things I did would keep them pretty short.


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#19 Davidpotter

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 09:57 PM

I use my thumbs to open and then both to widen for smaller pieces. larger pieces i use my whole hand cupped on the rim.


Practice, practice, practice. Then when you think you've practiced enough, the real practice begins.

#20 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 03:11 PM

Well the nice thing about having long nails is I use them to trim off the top of a pot if I can't find my needle tool ;) 

I should keep my Pointer finger nail short just so I have one usable finger.  I refuse to give up my nails. I get shellac done every 2 weeks so the clay doesn't dry them out. 


Learning On my Kick wheel with my vintage Paragon (from the late 1960's)




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