Pottery Video of the Week: How to Make a One-Piece Box on the Pottery Wheel

vangilder620In this clip, an excerpt from his DVD Pottery Techniques: Making Lidded Forms and Trimming, Bill van Gilder demonstrates making a lidded jar on the pottery wheel. The beauty of this jar is that you can make the whole thing from just one lump of clay. And less centering is always a good thing, wouldn’t you say? Enjoy! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

[youtube id=”YQ2IWy–n6E?rel=0″ width=”620″ height=”360″]


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This clip was excerpted from Pottery Techniques with Bill van Gilder, Volume II, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Daily Bookstore.

To learn more about Bill van Gilder or see images of his work, please visit http://www.vangilderpottery.com.



  • After closing the form I compress the top to avoid the “s” crack. Because there is air inside, the form will not be altered by pressing it down, but I like the idea of a little reinforcement inside with a stamp. Thanks.

  • even after 50 years, their is always something new thanks

  • Anthony M.

    I’ve learned so much from Maestro Van Gilder. Great glaze recipes, how to throw off the hump and now this. Gotta try it. Thanks Bill

  • Lindsey W.

    Does the little ball of clay in the lid stay there forever or does it get cut out once it has dried a little?


  • I may not have the skills yet, but I’m going to try it anyway.
    I love Bill’s videos. He has a very easy way of instructing and gives a wealth of useful tips just offhandedly.

    For what it’s worth, I live in China and I don’t have trouble viewing the videos (can’t watch YouTube without a vpn, though). If you’re having trouble it must be an operating system issue or a setting problem or something like that.

  • ankita c.

    u make it look so easy …and the shapes u give ur pots are so smooth the lines just run into each other with such ease ….i wish to gt there some day too …and i havent even bought a pottery wheel yet !!!

  • Viewed easily with Firefox…no problem….great clip…I started making these 15 years ago…great technique… love the use of old credit card too…handy tool….many thanks

  • Barbara M W.

    HI I too cannot (of late) view videos. THe video apppears then after a sec. or two, it becomes a black rectangle or the rectangle vanishes completely. I have the most recent Flash player installed!

  • I made two. My friend made one. We will stick with making two separate pieces.

  • BETTE D.

    Not as easy as it looks, but a neat looking piece when it works.

  • I don’t work on the wheel, but it is such a pleasure to watch a master at work. By the way, as to video quality or watchability, I am sitting in a lawn chair in the driveway, way out in the country watching this on my iPod with no trouble, so can’t see why anyone would have trouble as long as there is good wifi or Internet connectivity. The problem does not seem to be with the video, just saying…

  • I went home and made this right away! The lesson was very clear and the project was wonderful. I am buying the videos!

  • shelby p.

    this is a fabulous video. very well done. i’m trying to make a vase on the wheel for my current project.

  • To Goren – I haven’t seen the article you mentioned, but I’m sure you’ll agree that neither Leon Roloff, nor Bill van Gilder ‘invented’ this process. Bill is very good about showing how ‘he does things’ and doesn’t profess it to be the only way. These same one piece lidded boxes have been produced by a number of potters including UK’s Richard Batterham, and his teacher before him, Donald Potter, who passed away in 2004 at the age of 102.

    Glad to see the good teaching techniques on video here by BvG.

  • GREAT video!! I had the same problem with the lid cracking too, I’ll be sure to try your tip!! Thank You!

  • Thank you for the video which is real clear and instructive.
    However I think that you should pay some tribute to Mr. Leon Roloff Crafismen of San Diego who have some years ago published an article in Pottery making ilustrated, under rhe title Throw, Cut & Trim “Covered Containers”

    I also think everybody have to zapp through old articles. There ia a lot of information containd there.
    Pottery Making Illustarted and Ceramic Monrgly are loaded with everything a potter needs
    Good day to you all


  • Nice, but I was hoping for the one piece box mentioned in the title

  • Way cool video – I’m watching and saying “Ah! I didn’t know THAT…Oh my! Well, look at that…” Just so happy to be in the “company” of a master potter with such good visuals/explanations. Thanks Bill & CAD!

  • Dennis E.

    You are a master teacher! I really enjoyed your video. Thanks for the tip on squeezing the clay with the first and second finger as you bring it up.

  • Edward B.

    I do wish you get a video system that works! I am sick and tired of seeing interesting things talked about and not being able to see them on the screen! I use six systems at for separate location and your stuff comes up on none! Every thing else including Martha Stewart does!

  • Lenore L.

    To the student of Bill’s thanks for the website!!!
    I got to see he will have a workshop next year on my birthday in Charlotte, NC. So now I know what I will give myself as a present.
    I just love his clips. I can’t wait to take the workshop!! Thanks again!!

  • So good to see this next video of Bills and it doesnt seem to leave anything
    out good one. GOOD ALSO THAT WE HAVENT GOT ANOTHER REPEAT that is so disheartening
    when we look forward to these videos. Keep it up CAD,. thumbs up.

  • Very informative and enjoyable video, I’m always learning something new.

  • He IS impressive (I’m one of his class students so I can say that 😉 – he also gives tons of workshops that are packed with information from start to finish. To see his schedule, go to http://vangilderpottery.com/vgp_calendar.html – he’s got tools, glaze recipes and a ton of other info on the website as well.

  • Very cool, love the way you close it off, hope I can get that :-)Thank you!

  • Valerie M.

    way cool!!! I would love to take a workshop by this guy. His instructions are clear and concise. Great video!!! Oh I see someone comment here about ‘both’ his videos??? He has another one???? This guy is impressive.

  • Both videos are awesome! The ‘chuck’ he uses is basically a tapered thrown donut – scrape it dry with a rib or one of his throwing ribs/cut off sticks (wondrous things) and you won’t have to clean off any wet slippy clay from your pot.

  • I agree with comments above. What an efficient way to make a gallery and lid! I want those videos!

  • Judith N.

    I love lidded vessels, that was a very simple approach to lidding-thanks : )

  • BEAUTIFUL technique, great project, wonderful economy of time/motion. I want those DVDs!

  • Wow, I learned so much in just one video! Stuff I didn’t even realize I didn’t know! (Yet another example of those “life truths” I keep running into) Thank you!
    Question: What are you using for a chuck? It looks like a thrown doughnut, but you weren’t having to clean wet clay off your pots.

  • Michael T.

    Bill… another great video clip! you are a superior instructor!

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