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clay lover

Where To Start With Wheel Newbies?

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After a 5 week wheel throwing class at the local museum I went on craigslist and got a wheel. I got a kick wheel because that was all I could afford at the time. It was a great way to learn, especially having to control the speed of the wheel with the kicking etc. The kiln came later. But I just needed the sensation of making pots...

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I took 4 classes 3 hours each and then self taught myself from there. I personally think you spend about 1 hour practicing centered until they are almost frustrated, then have them open their best centered piece and make something. Then center something for them and have them open it. They will notice the difference and be like AHHHHHH. That motivated me at least.

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When I learned to throw, we started with cylinders since they required more control to counteract the centrifugal force that sort of creates the bowl form. Cylinders soon would become other shapes as we progressed.

 

We were told that for the first few class sessions everything would be recycled and were "graded" on how many mug bodies we could throw. Trying to throw one after another and not being able to keep any meant we spent our time centering, opening and pulling - over and over again those first few classes. We would slice through pots to look at wall thickness and not feel bad since the pots were heading to the slop bin anyway.

 

By the third class session we were off and had worked through our stumbling blocks and began making things to fire and glaze.

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One thing I wish my dumb rodent butt would have done when I started throwing was STRETCH MY WRISTS. My wrists are hamburger from centering and wedging, and I know I'd be in better shape if I had stretched beforehand--back when I first started. Annoying, yes, but if I can help someone prevent hamburger wrists, I'll keep sayin' it!

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I got a kiln first when we bought a house and bought a used kick wheel from the University years later when I learned how to throw.  It  needed some work the seat was stuck at the height for someone 5'8", I was the only person who threw on it.  They needed some clay so we swapped.  My first class we were told that we would need three finish pieces at the end of the class but everything else would be cut in half.  Denice

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I have been throwing for 1 month, yep I am new... Forget the weight idea, 1, 1.5 2 lbs of clay, toss it out the window... tell him to touch the tips of his thumbs together then his index and middle fingers, then make a circle.. that is a natural size to him so fill that void with a clay ball..you can then weigh it..

 

 

Teach him to throw "dry"...

Another thing that really messed us up was watching so many youtube potters use a 5 gallon bucket of water while throwing.. we really struggled our first week and made only 4 iffy pots.. we got lucky and was reading Pres.' profile or blog and seen where he liked to throw "dry" and it helped him get more height and still remain thin.. then we started using the slippy slime off our hands to lubricate the pots, WOW it was like a 100% turn around for us our pots almost doubled in height and the clay was so much more forgiving ...

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