Thursday, May 15, 2008

How To Do The Pull Up In Pottery

The Pull Up technique is an advanced method experienced ceramic artists use to form pots and cups on a potting wheel. It allows one to raise the walls of a clay vessel uniformly. It will also allow one to flare out or draw in the walls of your pot in most any shape within reason. This is a difficult technique to master, but will pay off nicely with sufficient practice. For the purpose of expedience it will be assumed you already know how to prepare clay to be worked.

Things You’ll Need:
Potter's Wheel


Cup of water


Pull Up Techique
Step 1:
After throwing and centering your clay on your potter's wheel, cup the clay with hands on the side and thumbs on top until the clay forms into a flat, discus shape. The size of the clay discus is entirely dependent on the intended size of the pot, vase, or cup.

Step 2:
While spinning, press thumbs lightly into the clay approximately one third of the distance from the center to the rim.

Step 3:
Gently drew the thumbs toward the rim of the clay, thinning the center of the clay disc and thickening the edges. Repeat as needed depending upon intended height of the pot. The taller the pot, the more clay pulled to the rims.

Step 4:
Lightly wet your hands in the cup of water. Place one hand on the inside of the pot, fingers resting against the interior of the rim. Press other hand against the first, trapping the rim of the pot between the fingers.

Step 5:
Press both hands inward with constant, equal pressure and pull them upward. The clay will be drawn upward with your hands, creating the walls of the pot.

Step 6:
Repeat this as many times as is required to bring the walls of the pot to the desired height and thickness. Always pull from the bottom upward.

Step 7:
To narrow the walls of the pot, apply more pressure with the exterior hand than the interior hand. To widen or flare the walls of the pot, apply more pressure with the interior hand than the exterior.

Tips & Warnings
If you're just starting out, its best to use clay that's a little on the dry side as it will provide more stability and mistakes prove less disastrous. Once you've become accustomed to this technique, add more moisture to the clay of your next pottery attempt. It will allow the walls of the pot to dip in or out to a much greater extent.

Gravity is the enemy when working on a pottery wheel. Move the walls of the pot in or out to sharply and they will collapse. Pull the walls too thinly and they will collapse.

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