Jump to content

What direction is your wheel spinning?


Recommended Posts

I center with lft braced to body/thigh, but rt rides on top pushing down in locked position with lft. When centering large amounts(>20#),I use rt arm with elbow at wheel head and balled fist hooked over top.

 

When talking about dominance there is another type-eye dominance. Most folks dominant eye is the same as hand. Some of us, including I are contrary, opposite eye hand dominance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm left handed, and my wheel goes counter clockwise, but I actually catch the clay with my right hand.  I think it is because, the wheels I learned on, could go either direction, and I got accustomed to clockwise.  However, once I got in my classroom(s), all the wheels go counter clockwise, and I've just kept using my right hand to catch.  I would honestly stop doing it, if it didn't work.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

I am left-handed. I throw counter-clockwise. As I have said before, this one of the few areas where being left-handed is an advantage. The left hand is the forming hand-e.g. the inside of bowls. Sometimes I trim pots right-handed, but mainly, I do everything left-handed. You would be surprised as to how many artists/musicians are lefties. It's a brain thing.

TJR.

 

Lindajb, this is how your theory completely fails!  All the righty has to do when throwing clockwise, push with the dominant hand and let the clay slip between your left hand. If the left handed potter feels more comfortable with the counter-clockwise spinning (and this only confirms my theory), then the righties should try the opposite rotation. The majorities of right-handed were just taught the wrong way, that is why they are protecting the routine. Thank you TJR!

Link to post
Share on other sites

i knew there must have been a reason i never learned my right hand from my left!   don't ask me for driving directions unless you want to hear " just go around the shell gas station and down the road until you see the library".

Link to post
Share on other sites

There does seem to be an abundance of lefties here, (and I'm another one) my wheel can go both ways but I stick to counter-clockwise for both throwing and trimming, I do however use my trimming tools in either hand, I'm a carpenter (when I'm not able to get out of working - not lazy, just nearly retired)  and as such often have to use my tools in the wrong hand (but never a hammer or a saw - just can't do it) so it doesn't seem odd using trimming tools in either hand.

 

I'd like to say that sometime I'll give it a go the *wrong* way, but I seriously doubt I ever will.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

[snip]...When talking about dominance there is another type-eye dominance. Most folks dominant eye is the same as hand. Some of us, including I are contrary, opposite eye hand dominance.

 

 

I agree that this can make a difference.  I am left handed and right eye dominant. Although I write and throw a baseball left handed I do many things right handed, including cutting with scissors and hitting a baseball.   I explain my "suckiness" at billiards because I shoot left and have a dominant dominant right eye which causes me to look across the end of the cue stick.

 

Throwing counter-clockwise on the pottery wheel feels natural to me.  I use my stronger left hand for centering and do a lot of finishing with my right hand.  My first pulls after opening are usually with a "claw" technique using my left hand.  Long story short, I would encourage folks to experiment and find out what direction works best for them and then adapt their throwing techniques to their particular strengths/comfort.  

 

-SD

Try hunting with a scoped rifle with this mix, right eye is not nearly as good as left.
Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with jbo. i was taught to throw left handed (clockwise) by a right handed potter who thought it would be easier for me.  All her demos were on a wheel spinning counterclockwise -  i never had a problem learning from her or any other righties who have shared their techniques with me over the years.  As for all the other adaptations we lefties have to contend with - beside 3-ring binders - don't get me started!  Ever think about a pair of scissors?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been teaching ceramics at local craft schools for 11 years.  Sometimes a student will some along and just not grasp centering and pulling up in the usual time frame or will keep trying to pull up on the left side of the wheel.  Often, I find that the person is left handed.  When this happens, we move to the clockwise rotation.  As the instructor, I am very hands on and will more than likely grab on to hands so they can feel the pressure.  When a left handed, clockwise student comes along, this becomes much harder.  Although my ability to help dwindles, the student's ability to throw usually jumps up a notch or two, making the switch worth it!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been teaching ceramics at local craft schools for 11 years.  Sometimes a student will some along and just not grasp centering and pulling up in the usual time frame or will keep trying to pull up on the left side of the wheel.  Often, I find that the person is left handed.  When this happens, we move to the clockwise rotation.  As the instructor, I am very hands on and will more than likely grab on to hands so they can feel the pressure.  When a left handed, clockwise student comes along, this becomes much harder.  Although my ability to help dwindles, the student's ability to throw usually jumps up a notch or two, making the switch worth it!

Three of the wheels in my classroom, can spin either way.  Sometimes, a student will ask for help, I'll come up to help, and struggle a bit.  It then dawns on me, that they have the wheel going clockwise.  I never seem to notice initially.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a righty. When I took my first pottery class I was having limited success. I made several soggy lumps of clay then switched to hand building just to have something to fire. One night I suddenly was able to center and pull up a cylinder. I was elated and as the instructor came around I proudly showed her my results. She noticed right away that I had the wheel going "the wrong way". I have been throwing clock wise ever since. I have no trouble watching and learning from counter-clockwise instruction. My instructor has not tried to "correct" my backwardness.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 years later...

Now curious, will try switching wheel rotation after first pull.

My guess would be that sticking with one rotation direction is easier, for the clay is moving in direction opposite to rotation due to the pressure (and therefore, drag) we are applying - the clay is swirling; when the direction is reversed, likely takes a while to get the clay swirling nicely in the opposite direction. Perhaps rather like stirring a bucket of liquid - takes a few turns to get the swirl going again - however, in clay, the bits (platelets) line up and stick together...

Try adding a roll of different colored clay to your clay ball before you start centering it up, then wire your piece apart at different stages...

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's catastrophic, I have switched direction in the middle to try to get the throwing marks on the top and bottom going opposite directions with a section in the middle with no throwing marks.  It collapsed almost immediately and it was still in a tall cylinder.  I tried it again a few times and the same thing.  Either I suffered some sort of coincidence, or it was untwisting. 

What I ended up doing was just chattering the bottom half clockwise and chattering the top half counter clockwise at the trimming stage.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/30/2019 at 12:27 PM, Patricia1969 said:

I have a question...  I'm comfortable throwing clockwise and counter clockwise.   My question is what if i switch directions midway through a pot ... could that be what's giving me problems?  I am a beginner

I suggest JUST throwing one direction . Learn that way and stick to it especially since you are a beginner -most power wheels went counterclockwise for 4 decades until Burgar King coined the phrase have it your way-now you can throw either direction or standing up or hanging upside down in climbing gear. Most right handers threw counterclockwise a few lefties fought that and special ordered clockwise wheels a few just did not care. My point is throw whatever direction you chosse but stick to it to learn. Once you learn you will usually always throw that direction. Less choice is easier to learn really.  

Edited by Mark C.
Link to post
Share on other sites

The difference between clockwise and counterclockwise is not a right or left handed issue, it's cultural. Western cultures typically throw counter, Eastern cultures typically throw clockwise. I highly recommend you learn whichever method is most common in your country, because if you ever work in a different studio- for workshops or whatever- you may run into wheels that do not reverse to accommodate you. Reversing is common in most newer wheels, but not on a lot of the older or less expensive wheels that are in use at many studios. It will also make it easier for the instructor to identify if you're doing something wrong. My left handed students have no problem working counter clockwise.

As for using both directions on one pot, that's a bad idea. Clay particles are platelets, and as you work they clay they get compressed and aligned in certain directions based on the rotation of the wheel. If you switch directions, those platelets are going to try to re-orient themselves, which will cause problems.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As Callie mentioned - if you could provide more detail of what you're having problems with, you'll get more helpful feedback...  Are you having trouble centering ?  Or is it in opening and/or pulling ?

Compared to many here, I am what you might call an 'experienced beginner', but depending on what stage you are at when switching direction, that could definitely 'give you problems'.  In addition to what Neil said about the clay 're-orienting' itself, unless you are truly ambidextrous, each time you change directions you have to think about your hand positions, and the direction you need to move them.  (Can be a bit like being told 'pat your head with one hand while rubbing your tummy with the other... OK, now switch')  If you consistently throw the same direction,  you develop what some call 'muscle memory' and, instead of thinking about which hand goes where each time you start the wheel, you can concentrate on how the clay feels to you  and how to respond to move it where you want it to go. 

That said, I have seen a couple of situations where reversing at specific stages has worked out well:

I knew someone that always centered one direction, then reversed when she was ready to open & start pulling.  I don't remember which direction she used for which stage - but she had more strength in one hand, and more dexterity in the other, so she used the strong hand for centering, and the other for the rest of the throw.

I've also found that if I'm trimming on the inside of a piece (to increase interior volume on a piece that's too thick), I'm more comfortable reversing the wheel and moving to the left side of the pot, so that I the surface I'm trimming is oriented the same in relation to my hand, and moving away from me while I hold the tool in my right hand.

image.png.884281ec345c4ece9879a18e1eabaadc.png

Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

Now I want to see Mark throwing upside down in climbing gear!

It's not Mark... and no climbing gear... but how 'bout throwing with the wheel hanging from the ceiling?

image.png.d0b8e56630c8904dd1e61b646476f463.png

(Photo from an article about 'Ergonomic Throwing' at https://robertcomptonpottery.com )

Edited by Rockhopper
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.