Making a Large Sectional Vase with a Twist

Throwing in sections is a fantastic way to make large work. Rather than trying to muscle a lot of clay into center and pull a tall form, you can divide the clay into manageable quantities.

In today’s post, an excerpt from his book Throwing, Richard Phethean takes this process a step further. He ovals the top section to make the pot more interesting. He also shows us an unconventional handle technique. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.


Making an Articulated Form

This is a sectional form that also has an articulation or change of direction at the join. My innovation here is to cut the top section in such a way as to make the join almost “universal‚” positioned and tilting in any direction you wish.


Throw like a pro!
Order your copy of Richard Phethean’s Throwing, the essential companion for anyone attempting to master the art of forming pots on the wheel.
Read more and download a free excerpt!


  1. The base section has been cut at an angle and fixed to a new slab base.
  2. Centre the top section and fix it to a clay pad. Insert a needle or a tool with the point bent upwards to imitate the angle of the shoulder it will sit on through the wall (here I am using a broken ribbon tool). Hold it firmly in position and rotate the wheel slowly.
  3. Position, mark and remove the top section. Dampen, score and slurry the top of the base section where the join will be. Then place the top section into position and bed the base with a slight twisting motion.


Adding a handle

In the images above, I am adding a pressed handle shape. I have used this method to make a smaller handle for a mug, even though pulled or extruded handles are traditionally used on thrown vessels.

  1. Roll out a tapered coil and form it into the desired shape. Place a thick stick below the coil and a thin one above it.
  2. Place a bat over the coil and press it flat.
  3. Thanks to the different thicknesses of the sticks, the pressed shape is thicker where it will join the vessel, making it both stronger and more aesthetically pleasing.
  4. Allow the handle to stiffen adequately before using a metal kidney to cut the handle shape to fit the contours of the form. Then offer the handle up to the wall and mark the join. Prepare both surfaces well before joining.


**First published in 2012

  • Very nice, I really like the design and look of the handle.

Enter Your Log In Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

Larger version of the image

Send this to a friend