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As some of you may know, I am a beginner on the wheel. I started learning in October of last year when my dad set up his new wheel in my garage since he doesn't have a spot for it yet. (Ohhh the sacrifices I make for him ) In the past year I have gotten to the point where I can pretty much make what I want, though I still can't handle anything over five pounds. I don't feel I'm qualified to teach anybody else, but my dad is really struggling. He wants to retire from his masonry business and use pottery to supplement his pension, so there is a lot of mental pressure on himself to make a success of this as soon as possible. I know from my own experience that this kind of thinking makes the learning go much slower, and I've told him so many times, trying to encourage him to be easier on himself and give it time and patience. Today he came over to throw and I noticed this weird thing. I'm right handed. I throw with the wheel spinning counter-clockwise. When I'm lifting the clay I have my left hand on the inside of the pot and my right hand on the outside at around 3 or 4 o'clock. My dad is also right-handed and uses the same setting on the wheel. But he does everything inside the pot with his RIGHT hand, and the outside with his left. His hands are at 8-9 o'clock on the wheel. He has lots of problems with gouging the pot, thin spots, collapses, etc. etc. etc. and I think that might be why. I told him and he laughed and said that he's always thrown this way ... I never noticed before because he really doesn't like help so I leave him alone when he comes over to throw. He threw one pot "my" way and it actually turned out pretty well but he said it was strange and went back to "his" way with the next pot. My question is, which way is correct? If "my" way is correct, then is it easier to re-learn this way, or should he try throwing on the wheel with the wheel going clockwise instead, as if he's left-handed, and otherwise keep doing everything the same? Any advice or suggestions? (By the way, I think he would benefit from a wheel throwing class but I know he won't do it. He's really discouraged right now.) Is it possible that his struggle with throwing can be as simple as having his hands in the wrong position?
This weeks question is not only (but mainly) about clay and our insecurity at times. The best advise I myself once got was: Never give up. Similar to what Nelson Mandela once said: "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall" Did you get good advice too in your life? Would you share it with us? Evelyne