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QotW: Do you use or ever used a throwing aid of any sort due to a physical weakness/ailment?


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Hi folks, nothing new in the QotW pool so I will pose another question.

Lately there have been questions about folks dealing with arthritis as do I. This has led me to wonder if people that throw use some aids in their throwing because of physical difficulties, arthritis or otherwise. We have all seen those centering jigs with the board on a lever to aid in centering clay. I have seen someone center using a wrist brace similar to what I use for bowling when centering. I am sure others have work arounds when throwing that I don't know of. Some people may scoff at these saying they are crutches to get something done that some one should learn to do without them. . .I was once in that school, but now I wonder??

QotW: Do you use or ever used a throwing aid of any sort due to a physical weakness/ailment?

 

best,

Pres

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I hate that a mobility aid would be considered a pejorative for anyone who needs them. It’s not stupid if it works. Ugh. 

I have seen people make devices for opening clay once it’s centred. The person I saw with it was more concerned with getting an even bottom than with saving wear and tear on fingers, but it would be an excellent arthritis aid. They take  1.25” or thinner pvc pipe parts, and make a square M shape.  All descending parts are capped, and the potter holds the 2 outside pieces and drags the device towards themself  themsef. so they can be dragged from the centre of the clay ball towards the potter. The descending  piece in the middle is shorter than the two side pieces, and the difference in height winds up being the thickness of the bottom of the pot.  If you didn't cement the pieces together, you could probably make it very adjustable. 

 

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@Callie Beller Diesel I think I've seen a utube video of this a few years back. Made sense to me, especially for some larger forms where one is using the fist to open up. I have found the fist to work well for me with a follow up of a few compression runs on the bottom to even it up. If I were throwing a ton of storage jars, it may make all of the difference.

 

best,

Pres

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I have used a throwing stick to throw  tall slender jars.  I have these huge hands that struggle with  that type of jar.   I have to buy men's gloves and sometimes shoes if I am desperate,  most men have smaller hands than me including my husband.    Denice

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Denise, I use throwing sticks often for chalice bowls and the stems. 

As to the opening tool @Bam2015, you will find the video here:

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&ei=UTF-8&p=clay+opening+tools&type=E214US714G0#id=2&vid=7aadabeead3955026ce8618b0ce04609&action=click

 

best, 

Pres

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Necessity is often the mother of invention, but then there may be some obscure reference in a book or other resource somewhere of something made of bamboo, wood or other material. Who knows!

 

best,

Pres

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i decided years ago to become the top part of a jigger and jolly "machine".  i like making bowls and a friend made me a stack of 6 sizes of walnut discs after watching me use a half inch thick plastic disc to make a bowl.  an expert in using a lathe, he used a block of walnut and thinned the edges of each of the 6 sizes of rib to be perfect for the purpose.

the technique is to open and shape a flowerpot  with a thick bottom.  when it becomes about 3 or so inches high, i insert one of the smaller discs, usually the 5 inch one, absolutely straight down in the center of the spinning pot.   the disc forces the clay into a perfectly round interior, pushing down the walls and thickening the wall area close  to the wheelhead.   i push it down until i am sure it is just thick enough in the center to become the floor of the foot ring. 

pulling up the walls is then fairly easy, the clay has been made more plastic than it was when i started and travels up the outside of the bowl neatly.  any throwing rings are on the outside and can be removed with a thin stainless rib.  a final downward push corrects any tiny wobble and the pot is not only finished but almost dry.  the only trimming is the foot ring itself and that is fun for me.  that smooth outside allows me to almost immediately apply colored slip to be carved into my favorite designs.

why waste time on throwing and permanently bending my old fingers when the fun is in the decorating?

Edited by oldlady
clarification
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On 8/2/2022 at 3:38 AM, Callie Beller Diesel said:

I hate that a mobility aid would be considered a pejorative for anyone who needs them. It’s not stupid if it works. Ugh. 

I have seen people make devices for opening clay once it’s centred. The person I saw with it was more concerned with getting an even bottom than with saving wear and tear on fingers, but it would be an excellent arthritis aid. They take  1.25” or thinner pvc pipe parts, and make a square M shape.  All descending parts are capped, and the potter holds the 2 outside pieces and drags the device towards themself  themsef. so they can be dragged from the centre of the clay ball towards the potter. The descending  piece in the middle is shorter than the two side pieces, and the difference in height winds up being the thickness of the bottom of the pot.  If you didn't cement the pieces together, you could probably make it very adjustable. 

 

I made one and it really takes the pressure out of old joints. I use it for pasta ishes Ir medium salad dishes. Some bigger platters, I need the wheel head and I use the heel of my hand so ok so far with those joints.

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@Babs, I used to used to use the heel of my hand to flatten large platters and patens, but now I use a rib. I have three ribs that are about 8'' long maybe 2-3" wide. Each has a slightly different shallow curve. I flatten a 5-7 lb ball of clay with my fist and arm as a rib, then use the wooden ribs held at a 30-45 degree angle to flatten and compress the slab more. These ribs have taken a major amount of stress off of me when compressing large pieces. I have even used them inside of large bird baths and succulent planters.

 

best,

Pres

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