Chris Pate’s wheel with foam pipe insulation placed on the splash pan for forearm support.

Forearm Support

Throwing pots is a physical activity that often takes its toll on our bodies. To help lessen the impact, many of us make adjustments to the wheel-throwing process, the tools being used, and our body posture. Jesse Jones, who has a Studio Visit in this issue, shared some pictures of an easy solution to alleviate pain from leaning on the splash pan. His former resident artist, Chris Pate, uses foam pipe insulation to pad his forearms while throwing. Foam pipe insulation is cheap and can be found at most home improvement stores. Cut the pipe insulation into two pieces using a sharp knife or pair of scissors so that they fit on your wheel’s splash pan, then fit them over the rim, and adjust the placement as needed. —CM Eds

Sheryl Taylor’s pool-noodle tool organizer attached to her wheel.

Pool Noodle Tool Organizer

It’s true. Necessity is the mother of invention. I’m a hobby potter and one of my biggest frustrations is keeping all my tools organized. I’m a tool junkie and like most potters, I’ve tried a few different things to keep track of my tools. I tried storing them in plastic cups sitting in my splash pan, but water just pools in the bottom of the cups and I have an even bigger, muddier mess. I’ve tried laying a board across the front of my splash pan and laying tools on that, but if I bump the board and it falls off, all the tools go flying. This was more trouble than it was worth.

I woke up one morning and the solution to my tool problem came to me—use a pool noodle! It could be used to hold my tools in place. It’s easy to clean, and I could cut a slit down the bottom of it length wise, to clamp it onto the rim of my splash pan.

I used a hack saw to cut the pool noodle to size and to cut slits for my ribs and other tools. I can poke my needle tool into it and it stays put. The foam doesn’t break off into my clay. I can even tip my wheel up to drain the water out and the pool noodle and tools don’t budge. And best of all, I can see all my tools. Now I don’t lose them in slurry water and I don’t have to search for them in the mud.

The grand total of my investment was 99 cents. This has been a helpful, cheap, and easy solution to my tool dilemma. I can also use the pool noodle to hold carving and trimming tools at my work bench. I have a small space to work in and it’s really important to me to keep track of my tools and to stay organized.

the author Sheryl Taylor is a hobby potter living and working in Wickenburg, Arizona.

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