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mrcasey

Beginning Bowls From Cylinders (Teaching)

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When I began wheel pottery, I got the impression that most throwers started bowls from cylinders and I've always taught bowls that way.  
But a lot of good potters I watch on you tube don't actually start bowls from cylinders.  Right off the bat (no pun),  they start a concave curve in the floor of their pieces and they don't pull up vertical walls.

When you guys teach bowls, do you start from an exact cylinder, or do you start from a kind of "V" shape with a curve already in the bottom?

 

 

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I do not throw bowls from cylinders-never have-of couse ZI do not think about oit after 45 years of production work. I do not teach bowls I throw them. I'll pay attendtion next time i'm throwing -it will be a few weeks .I am resting my left thumb after a steriod shot (last Wensday near SF) in bone on bone joint ,for two weeks

 

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Hope your thumb feels better Mark.

I'm only teaching myself (I do have a background in teaching and coaching, however) - it's coming along ...big difference between a flat bottomed vessel and an arc bottomed one. I'm finding it best to throw the bottom first, then continue with the rest of the form; not to say that going back to the base to touch it up and work it more is out of the question - just that it's mostly done. The width, thickness, and shape are established. That said, ending up with a sweet interior curve is one of big challenges - if not The challenge - in learning bowls, eh? Open, establish the arc out to about where the foot ring (or edge of base) will be, then pull walls, yep. And those walls reach to the lip in an almost straight line, to the desired height, then the rest of the curve and any widening of the opening is completed after the outside and lip are finished - as in ribbing, to knock down the bits and level the cream, and chamois the lip to smooth and distribute a nice layer of cream. Then rib the interior to a pleasing arc, which typically widens the bowl a bit more, whilst smoothing and finishing. From there, touch up the rim, if necessary, done for now.

A lot of my cylinder problems were right from the beginning - not opening the base to the desired width, and ending up with a bowl with straight sides. I began to see better after watching that vid of Isaac Button cranking out flat bottomed cups - then went back and watched several others again, and again ...then practicing, then more watching...

I'm interested to read what others offer!

 

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(That said, ending up with a sweet interior curve is one of big challenges - if not The challenge - in learning bowls, eh? )

This is the most truth about bowls learning to have that curve without a weird flat spot or a hump in center- or a flat spot in curve somewhere ,the outer curve and inner curve should be exactly the same.

Our learning lesson in 1973 was throw 30 cereal bowls and trim 30 cereal bowls-

after that you start to get it

for me it took a few more years to get it

Bowls are my favorite to throw

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My bowls start off as bowls...thats how i was taught, thats how i teach.  One week i throw a bowl for demo the next week i throw a cylinder for a demo. Frankly i have always thought bowls were easier to throw and a lot funner to trim. Depending if you want a steep curving bowl or a wide bottom bowl you set it up from the first opening movement. 
 

Bowls with a flat bottom i have always called  Bowlynders in jest,  but i tend to to stress to my students it  is not the proper way to form a true bowl form...they asked me what they really are and i say a flaired cylinder. My teacher was quite adamant that a bowl should start out as a bowl.

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I taught HS for 36 years, and always taught the cylinder, the bowl and the plate as the main forms of throwing. All other variations are derived from the first three. As far as Bowlynders, I call them dishes.  I was always taught that a bowl had a rounded inside and a dish had a flat inside. The dish/cylinder form starts with a flat bottom, and is not a bowl. The bowl form starts with a rounded interior opened up more widely than a cylinder, and as PSC says, the width of the bowl is determined in the opening up stage of the form.

I use a bamboo spoon with the handle cut off anymore to open up bowls, and to adjust them to the size I want to throw. Then I pull the walls upright as in creating a cylinder until to the desired thickness, always leaving a much thicker rim. Then I use the spoon to shape the walls outward and smooth the form making certain to not leave any flat areas in the interior of the bowl. Finish the rim, and allow the bowl to set up a little, then I go back in and inflate the form a little more, tim the base for cut off, and let the bowl set on the bat until the rim is firm, then flip between two bats to stiffen the base for trimming.

 

best,

Pres

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I was taught bowls did not start off with a cylinder. You establish the curve on the bottom with your fingers or a curved rib after opening and before you begin your pulls. Though they’re mostly vertical to start with, your throws or pulls should extend that curve and you need to leave a thick rim at the top so it doesn’t split when you expand the form. You still have to use those pulls to get  your maximum height before the final flaring/rounding of the shape.

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High School Ceramics teacher here. I've taught it both ways as an experiment to see which would click more for the students and be easier for them to create quality vessels on the wheel. And though it's more complicated to teach, the results were overwhelmingly better when you create the curved base for a bowl right away. So now, that's the way I teach it. I agree with @Presabout breaking things down into those 3 main components: Cylinder, Bowl, and Plate (Wide & Flat Shapes). From there, they can manipulate the clay to do a thousand different things. 

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