Sunday, June 1, 2008

How to Throw A Pitcher on a Pottery Wheel

How to Throw A Pitcher on a Pottery Wheel
A Simple Clay Pitcher Made With A Potter's Wheel
This piece will test your skills in pottery throwing by converting a simple clay cylinder made on your potter's wheel into an elegant and useful pitcher.

Things You’ll Need:
Potter's Wheel

Clay Cylinder

A clay coil



Paint brush

Damp sponge

Throwing A Pitcher
Step 1:
Start with a centered and pulled clay cylinder on your potter's wheel. This guide is too advanced if you don't already know how to do this. Start up the wheel to a speed with which you are comfortable and cup the top third of the cylinder with your hands. This should begin to narrow the top of the cylinder.

Step 2:
Place the index and middle finger of both hands inside the cylinder and gently pull outward. This should give the pitcher a round body with an outward curving throat. Press down and outward on the very top lip to roll the lip over and reinforce it.

Step 3:
Use your fingernail or the tip of a knife to cut lines at regular intervals along the throat of the vessel. Your other hand should be on the inside of the pitcher to provide support and keep it from caving in. This step is purely ornamental and need not be done, but I find it helps give the piece a much needed sense of definition.

Step 4:
Stop the wheel and press the first two fingers of the left hand against the outside of the vessel while the right index finger pulls the clay out between them. The clay should still be pliable enough to form a simple spout.

Step 5:
Take your coil of clay, which should be about as thick as your thumb and twice the length of the pot and cut the ends off so you have two completely flat ends. Rough and wet the clay of the vessel at the center of the pitcher's neck and the center of the body. Attach the coil to the two roughed spots to make your handle. Smooth the surrounding clay with a damp sponge.

Step 6:
After letting the pitcher dry for a few hours, use the paintbrush to apply the engobe in a decorative band around the base of the pitcher. Any other design you would wish to use is your choice, but the pitcher should have some sort of decoration in order to really look finished.

Tips & Warnings
If making a large pitcher, a ceramic adhesive at the points where the handle connects may be required to hold the weight of the handle. Depending on the type of clay used, you may have to glaze the interior and exterior of the pitcher if it's going to effectively hold liquid.
Some fired clay is too porous to hold liquids, make sure you know the properties of the kind you're using before starting.

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