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Bunnybaer

Whatever I Do - Clay Is Collapsing Help Please

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I don´t know what happened - I made a break over 2 Weeks working with my wheel. AN this weekend was so horrable - nothing was perfekt. Whateber I did, the clay was runnig opu., I could´t centrate good enough, the clay was swinging, the thickness was not correct, I have thrown 8 kg up and away!! I´m sober...it is so baaad....

 

please, can anybody tell me, how long does it take to be a very good wheel-throwner....??? I do it 5 Months and at the first time it was fantastic, I learned quickly I had success but now.... I am just an bad bad beginner....so sad... :(:(:(

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Its easier to learn how to throw and pull the clay if the clay is soft. Sometimes when throwing with stiff clay, you have to really apply lots of pressure at the base in order to get the clay to move, and forget to ease up on the pressure. Somewhere at the halfway point it gets too thin and the top half will tear off or collapse. Try softer clay, and some pictures will help as well. :)

Take care and good luck,

Alabama

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Thank you very much. I always take clay with chamotte (do you call it so? In germany we do..) this clay is very smoothy. Maybe I give toomuch pressure onit. But the up-pulling of the clay ist not what I prefer.... maybe I find some videos here.

I think my problem is - one of it - take not enough water! I´ve seen in some videos that everyone takes so much water on it and me...hmm..much too less water...hehe...ok I hop I´m getting better.-

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Learning to throw goes that way ... One day you think you have it all solved and the next day it falls apart. We have all had terrible days when it would have been better to just go for a walk ... Or just sit and watch some YouTube videos of other people throwing.

Next time will be better!

Good luck

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Yuu said " you couldn't concentrate enough" and there it is!

Weigh out a lot of little balls of clay and throw cylinders for the first 1/2 hr at the wheel each time you go. Concentrate on the points that you learn from your watching videos, then extend to what you want to make.

Wheel throwing skill ccmes with watchful practice.

Some days, as CHris says, it's just not a throwing day and you will be fighting everything. so do something else.

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Pull a cylinder using as much water as you need (but not more). After that, clean up the inside with a sponge and the outside with a rib. Now (with only a few exceptions) do not use more water. What is deceptive about watching an experienced person throw is they do all these little steps over and over so often they transition so fast. 

 

And yes, you will forget more than you might imagine after two weeks.

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One other thing is to try and make your pot with only 2 or 3 pulls. Center, open, do the floor of the pot then pull up the walls.  Clay gets tired and too wet if you try to pull it up too many times. Clay with chamotte is easier to throw so maybe it’s just a question of getting used to the new clay. (in north america chamotte is called grog)


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Set up a phone or camera set to video recording, then throw some cylinders, mugs, bowls, what ever. Then go to U-tube, pull that up and run the two stopping when the same thing is happening. Compare what they are basically doing to what you are doing. When I say basically, there are many different ways to open up, pull shape, and finish, but each of these whether pulling with the thumb knuckle, the pointer and finger together, or with a sponge behind the fingers follow simple basic principles. See if you can see where you deviate from those principles in your throwing. Even have someone else look at them and help you, especially if that person can throw reasonably well.

 

best,

Pres

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Thanks a lot for all your helpful advises, very much! I think it would help....I is good to know that e.else has the same problems, too as I have (sometimes). So I try to make cylinders, For the last tiem I made a salad bowl it was great.

So I think I change between throwing-days and handmaking-days.

 

Kind regards, andrea

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It is much easier to be "successful" with non-wheel pieces. I would recommend trying 3 or 4 cylinders (same weight each time) each visit. The first 10 hours of practice doesn't leave people with much to show...

 

If you wish to spend more time in the studio, do it off the wheel. Or start a hand making project, practice throwing some, and then finish your projects.

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You said " you couldn't concentrate enough" and there it is!

 

Babs - I think Andrea means 'centre' when she says 'centrate' because the next sentence says the clay is 'swinging'. She's clearly translating from her native German, which is where the unusual words/forms have come from. HOWEVER - your advice to throw small cylinders at the start of a session still holds true!

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I still think the clay is too stiff, so here is how I tell if the clay is too stiff.

Say the Shelby County Arts Center asked me to demonstrate, I'd use their clay. The first thing I do is to weigh the clay then wedge. If the clay can't be wedged, it's too stiff to throw. If it wedges I stand the 3 to 6 pounds up on one end and push one end into the other until it looks like a large Hershey's Kiss. Then I take the wire tool and try slicing the clay into, cutting towards me. If I have to hold the clay with the thumbs, it's too dry, and I will thin slice the clay and add water until a wire tool will cut thru without any difficulty. Once I determine there is enough water in the clay, I wedge it again, then slice the clay in half and pop each half to see if any air pockets appear on each cut. Carefully place each half together then wedge again. Slice it again, then pop each side with the palm of the hand and look for exposed air pockets. Do this until there are no more air pockets. I don't throw my clay on the wheel head any more...I place the clay near the center and center it by hand, as you would to trim a vessel...its then I seal it to the bat.

At this time I put a picture, or example of what is to be thrown off to the side and use it as a blueprint to show me what to do next or when. I throw a general shape of the vessel, because I know I will trim when leather hard to bring out the final shape. Most students who don't know what they want to make, just let the clay run thru their hands, because if don't know what you want to make, you don't know when you're finished, so the vessel is "messed with" until it collapses or tears apart...and because they have soooo much time invested, they feel the need to keep it!

But when I throw, everything is braced...the knees are braced against the splash guard, and the elbows are tucked in resting against the rib cage.

If the clay is too stiff, the off centered clay will act like a cam and pull your arms away from the ribs, and the clay gives you a workout instead of vice versa!

And if the clay is too stiff, and you can throw something tall, it won't collar in and the top collapses in your hands. If you feel the clay getting warm, add water, and if it becomes tacky, and it starts to drag, add water.

Make lots of cylinders and cut several in half to examine the profile. You may want to find a potter who can give one days instruction to get you started.

If you do what you tubes, watch the elbows, posture, and white knuckles,muscles, and veins that signify pressure...

Good luck and keep us posted of your progress...

See ya,

Alabama

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