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Published May 11, 2022

altered rim

Altering freshly thrown pots is one of the best ways to take advantage of clay's malleability. When the clay is this wet the movement created by altering really becomes fluid too.

In today's post, an excerpt from Mastering the Potter's Wheel, Ben Carter shows how to take advantage of that freshly thrown malleability to create a gorgeous scalloped rim. - Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor

Altered Rims Based on Geometric Pattern

Fig 1One of my favorite ways to wet alter is to draw a two-dimensional pattern with a roller tool and then push it into three dimensions. This style of alteration can cause a lot of stress to the body of the pot, so I often only do this on a rim or a defined section rather than the whole pot body.

Start with a bowl form that has a sectioned flat rim (1). Draw a pattern, in this case a border of triangles, around the rim of the pot (2). Push up to form scallops at the points where the triangle hits the rim and the interior border (3). Supporting the underside of the rim, work your pointer finger back and forth on the triangles that make up that interior border (4). The combination of upward and downward alteration turn this two-dimensional triangular border into a dramatic three-dimensional rim (5).

Fig 2 Fig 3

Fig 4 Fig 5

Excerpted from Ben Carter’s book Mastering the Potter's Wheel, published by Quarto Press and available at

**First published in 2021.