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Proper Hand Position For Wheel Throwing?

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Agree with you Paul. I wasn't suggesting that Giselle's dad imagine a telescope in his mind. Ask him to use his hand and lift a pretend telescope to his eye. In my pottery class, when my student said "sometimes I think I might be left-handed" another pottery student (former teacher) told her to lift a pretend telescope to her eye. She went straight for the left eye. Then we reversed her wheel and she started throwing as a lefty. Big difference! Though I bet the test would work better if you hand someone an actual telescope.

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Guest JBaymore



Defining throwing wheel direction as "righty" or "leftie" seems to imply that one hand is more important than another.  In my opinion they are not.  BOTH are equally important for this task.  At one time in a process or for a particular form one hand can be dominant for a while.... then the other becomes dominant.  Then both work in concert. It is a dance.


Some of the throwing exercises I use ask people to use only one hand to do tasks... like centering and pulling.  And they ask the person to be able do it with either hand.


100% agree that if the hands are on the left side of the wheel contacting the clay that the wheel should rotate clockwise.  That is basic physics of how the system of spinning malleable clay and wheel and hand contact works.


But the direction of rotation based on right handedness versus left handedness..........  I don't buy that.


Many experienced potters say that the INSIDE is the most important part of the pot form.  If that were true, then righties should be throwing in the clockwise direction to get the dominant right hand inside the form.


In the end, it matters not which direction the wheel spins... as long as you understand the basic physics dictates of the rotation direction choice.  And that you work to develop skills.


One real issue is cultural.  If you are in a culture where the vast majority of people throw in a particular rotation direction...... then when you watch others throw in demos and such........ you have to reverse everything you are seeing in your head.  An extra level of difficulty for some people.





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Could your dad be a natural lefty, and not know it? Lots of lefties were forced as kids to use their right hand, especially older folks. I had a pottery student who discovered she was a natural lefty by taking pottery classes.


Ask your dad to pretend he is using an imaginary telescope. Does he hold it up to his right eye or his left eye?


That was actually my first thought when I saw this. I asked him if that had happened. He said he couldn't remember but he didn't think so, because his sister went to the same school he did, and she was allowed to be a lefty. He also didn't remember any trauma about it and I think that would make a pretty deep impression on a kid. He did say that he often works with his left hand, and has been asked many times if he's left-handed. 
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I'm sure that for all of us, whichever we think of as the dominant hand, there is a time when the other hand wants to take over.  


For me, it's dealing/shuffling/playing cards and riding/walking my bike and aerobics classes where my left hand/foot wants to be in charge.  


I can write reasonably well with either hand (particularly after four months solid use). Also, any injury to one side of the body will send the other side into overdrive.


The moral of this thread seems to be "if it don't feel right, try the other side/way".

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