How to Make Pinch Pots Without Ruining Your Wrists!

Didem Mert shares slab and pinch pot techniques that will keep wrists healthy!

pinch pots

Pinch pots are undergoing a bit of a renaissance these days. Even though pinching pots is an ancient technique, more and more ceramic artists are taking up pinch pots. I see beautiful pinch pots everywhere these days. 

But the repetitive act of pinching clay can be pretty hard on the wrists. This is why Didem Mert approaches pinch pots a little differently than the typical pinch pot technique, in which one starts by sticking a thumb in a clay ball and slowly pinching out the walls until they are the right thickness. On most of her forms, Didem starts with a 3/8-inch slab in cylindrical form and pinches the walls thin. She has also figured out the ideal way to position her hands to reduce the tension on the wrists. This results in far less pinching and is a much better position for the wrists. 

In today’s video clip, an excerpt from her video From the Studio to the Kitchen: Handbuilt Pots & Homecooked Meals, Didem introduces us to her pinch pot technique. –Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

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Want More Info on Pinch Pots?

If you would like to join the pinch pot renaissance, we’ve got you covered in the archives! Learn how to go a bit larger in scale with this great pinch and coil construction technique! Go even further back into the archives and check out this pinch pottery video!

Pinch Pots and so much more!

This clip was excerpted from Didem Mert’s video From the Studio to the Kitchen: Handbuilt Pots & Homecooked Meals, which features her studio techniques as well as her cooking techniques! This is the first video of its kind, and it’s available in the Ceramic Arts Shop, or on CLAYflicks!

To learn more about Didem Mert and see more images of her work, please visit

Have any more tips for saving your wrists when pinching? Post a comment below to share with the community!

**First published in 2017
  • Suzanne S.

    Very interesting approach! In the ceramics field it is imperative to be mindful of ergonomics or you will pay for it later. While watching the video, I observed that Didem is resting her elbows on the table much of the time. While we often hear about repetitive motion injury in the wrist area, it is very important to remember that ceramics can be hard on other areas of the body. The position that is being demonstrated could lead to forearm fatigue from constant rotation of the radial bone, elbow problems (cubital tunnel syndrome), and upper arm (tendonitis) problems similar to those experienced by folks spending long hours using a computer key board and mouse. I would recommend that a person who adopts the described approach, also try putting the banding wheel on a large bucket or stool situated on the floor between the knees, at about the height of a potters wheel or a bit higher so as not to strain the back, then proceed as demonstrated, resting the arms on the thighs if needed. Just a note, some who have arthritis in the hand report that the exercise of pinching a pot “old school” actually gives some pain relief for stiff fingers and thumbs, “so to each their own”.

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