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pattial

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Hi Im very new to pottery and watch this forum closely for tips and techniques. I look constantly on the internet for pottery information. I took a beginners class in march and now have joined a pottery group. Ive been learning thru watching other potters..asking tons of questions and trial and error. I was wondering if you could give a beginner one piece of advice what would it be? Also, is there other pottery sites you visit? (nothing wrong with this one...just like to look around)

Thanks!

patti

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My advice to a new potter ... practice repetition practice repetition practice repetition ... don't be intimidated you will enjoy every minute.

 

-Mea

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Guest LGHT

I would suggest investing in a several books and use you tube for visual learning tips. I have only been working a little over a year in clay and the first thing I did was buy several used how to books from ebay / amazon. The books where only a few bucks and although the info was somewhat basic it was very helpful in understand concepts and techniques. This combined with several "how to" videos on you tube. It's amazing how much the basic understanding and concepts have helped me get going on the wheel. I still see other students struggling with centering, and throwing basic shapes because they don't understand nor have good concept of the fundamentals on the wheel.

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No pot is precious until it comes out of the final firing intact and beautiful.

 

Every pot is a process, an experiment. Don't be afraid to throw a wet pot in the recycle bucket and just start over... very often, you can throw a new pot in less time than you'll spend coaxing and fiddling with that "pot gone wrong", just to have it collapse and end up in the bucket anyway.

 

When you're looking at that leather-hard pot and thinking, "this one's mostly okay," throw that in the recycle bucket, too. Believe me, it won't take very long to end up with a big collection of glazed pots on the shelf that today you think are all goofy that just eight weeks ago you thought were "mostly okay". Keep a few to record your progress, but don't get attached to a bunch of the early pots. (And I say this very early in my potting "career"... I'm amazed at the difference in my work over just a few months.)

 

Think of your early potting as a sketch book. Your goal is to paint a masterpiece in oils, but you don't start out studying light and shadow and form on canvas with oil... you start with little sketches in pencil, learning to see and to draw what you see. And you don't hang your learning sketches on the wall or give them to your family as Christmas gifts. Those were just part of the learning process. It is the same with pots... don't expect that your early learning phase will be work to be shared. Be patient, and it won't take long for you to look back and be amazed at how much better your pots have become.

 

This is hard if you don't have easy access to a wheel two or three times a week. If you get two hours in the studio a week, including instruction, cleanup time, etc., you're going to view all your output as precious because there is so little of it. You'll get so little practice in between teachings that your progress will be slow. If you can, join a studio that has "open studio time," or buy your own wheel to practice on at home and fire pieces at the studio. That will give you a much larger sense of freedom to recycle a bad pot and start again.

 

Getting my own wheel was what made the big difference in my progress. And it made a big difference in the effectiveness of my classes... six hours of practice in between weekly classes meant I could spend my class time asking the instructor to demonstrate or give me feedback on something I was having trouble with.

 

No amount of reading or videos or tips will substitute for hands in the clay. To echo Mea, practice, practice, practice.

 

(That really *is* just one piece of advice. Really. Throw away the bad pot and start a new one. All the rest is support for making that easier to do.)

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Hi Im very new to pottery and watch this forum closely for tips and techniques. I look constantly on the internet for pottery information. I took a beginners class in march and now have joined a pottery group. Ive been learning thru watching other potters..asking tons of questions and trial and error. I was wondering if you could give a beginner one piece of advice what would it be? Also, is there other pottery sites you visit? (nothing wrong with this one...just like to look around)

Thanks!

patti

 

 

If you are learning to throw, practice cylinders. Weigh out 2 lbs. lumps and throw them into 10" cylinders as a goal. Wedge them up and do it over and over, cutting them in half checking the wall thickness. That is the best practice I know for learning to throw and I taught that way for several decades. Save a few cylinders and pull as many handles as can fit on them. Attach a stub to the cylinder and pull a handle. Keep wetting your hand every other pull or so. Get 10-15 handles pulled. Practice is the best way to master anything.

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Thanks guys....

 

Andy I just bought an old notebook with me the other day..I noticed some potters using them and thought it was a great idea~~ its my potters journal.

 

Marcia I like your idea of throwing 2 pounds cylinders..Im having trouble pulling up and this will be good for me~

 

Carl the first instructions I was given was dont love it till its all finished...too many accidents can happen along the way. I have been *throwing* away my bad pots..but just started to do this..I keep a plastic bag of worked clay to take out and practice with. And the studio I belong to is open all the time...so right now I can get in there for hours..and have been ..

 

LGHT isnt youtube wonderful for tips and techniques...if Im not making stuff Im on there looking up how to do it..lol

 

Mea ..your right your right your right... :D This past week I was handbuilding some plates and bowls and didnt get to my wheel for a week...well today I sat down to throw some mugs and was struggling a bit. I need to keep on it more often.

 

Thanks everyone..I knew I could count on your guys...if you have anymore keep them coming!

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Try to use notebooks made with archive paper. 20 years down the road the acid free paper shouldn't fall apart in your hands when you need to reread thoughts or observations.

 

 

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Try to use notebooks made with archive paper. 20 years down the road the acid free paper shouldn't fall apart in your hands when you need to reread thoughts or observations.

 

 

 

 

 

Wow....looking ahead 20 years from now.

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patti: well a good place to start if you are doing wheel throwing, is by setting up disciplined problems for yourself. Say if you cut a 25 lb. block of clay in half, that is 12.5lbs. cut it again and then its 6.25. This can make a nice sphere maybe 10" round with a opening as big as your hand no bigger, a foot the same size. Okay how do you get there from here? Well the cylinder - then the altered cylinder, then gradually the form gets fuller as your skill develops then eventually for example you make a nice globe which is well disciplined and not a different pot everytime. Then it becomes a teapot, a pitcher, a cookie jar with a few modifications. All based on what you can do with 6.25 lbs of clay. Or make a small bowl with 12 ounces of clay. Well, for that you have to trim a foot. But with handbuilding, the problems are similar. A ball of clay the size of a tennis ball or a baseball. okay, form a teabowl.etc. Same with coil work, or slab. So repetition is part of the equation, yes, but repetition alone doesn't make a pot good. You have to develop an eye. You develop the hands and skill but at the same time you have to train the eye. Go to the museum, look at pots. Don't settle on just doing one thing, try to see what great potters down through the centuries have done and let it inform your work.

- h a n s e n -

 

 

Hi Im very new to pottery and watch this forum closely for tips and techniques. I look constantly on the internet for pottery information. I took a beginners class in march and now have joined a pottery group. Ive been learning thru watching other potters..asking tons of questions and trial and error. I was wondering if you could give a beginner one piece of advice what would it be? Also, is there other pottery sites you visit? (nothing wrong with this one...just like to look around)

Thanks!

patti

 

 

 

 

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Hi Im very new to pottery and watch this forum closely for tips and techniques. I look constantly on the internet for pottery information. I took a beginners class in march and now have joined a pottery group. Ive been learning thru watching other potters..asking tons of questions and trial and error. I was wondering if you could give a beginner one piece of advice what would it be? Also, is there other pottery sites you visit? (nothing wrong with this one...just like to look around)

Thanks!

patti

 

To broaden your awareness of history, go to museums, study form. Go to contemporary galleries and see what is being done. Go to the library and look at magazines and books. Reading is greatly underrated. Draw, keep notes of what glazes, slips etc. you are using, how it is fired. As for archival paper, I have sketch books and glaze notebooks going back 45 years. Some are yellow. The purple dittos are really faded but still legible. Many pages have glaze or wax on them. I have four large glaze notebooks and two recipe boxes. Lots of sketch books from travels and for the studio. Find forms that interest you, draw them, alter, dissect, and go 3-D with them. Figure out the solutions to forming challenges.

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Before I had a studio in my home, I was forced to read and daydream about clay when school and the studios were closed. It's maddening, isn't it?!

 

Here is a wonderful free resource:

http://www2.goshen.edu/~marvinpb/throw/contents.html

 

I love reading and watching how other people work because I always pick up a little tip or trick. This site really breaks down the basics and is loaded with troubleshooting advice.

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Wonderful advice by everyone. Keeping notes is an excellent idea. You will look back at them years later. I am.

 

I have had a break from pottery for a several years but kept all my notes, books, tools etc even though i have moved interstate a few times. Recently decided that it was time to get back into it. I have set up an area in my garage for my pottery and it is "Great to be back"! What a wonderful time it is now for those just starting out with so much information available now on the internet. Back when i started pottery in 90's, information was not freely shared and alot of information were kept close to the potter. I spent alot of time at libraries, but now information is readily available and people are so helpful. There are videos, websites, forums etc. What a wonderful time to be doing pottery.

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