Intermediate Wheel Throwing with Jennifer Allen
In this installment of the Ceramic Arts Daily Presents video series, Jennifer Allen draws on her years of teaching ceramics at the college level to present intermediate-level instruction on throwing on the potters wheel. A follow up to Jennifer's previous ...(Scroll for more.)
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Runtime: 2 hours 20 minutes
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…title, Fundamentals of Wheel Throwing, this video is intended for those who have achieved some mastery of basic throwing skills and are ready to move on to more complex techniques such as throwing off the hump, making larger pieces from two parts, and throwing and assembling non round forms. Jennifer also covers plates, pitchers, and lidded containers, presenting variations on each that will help you find the technique and style that works best for you. If you are looking to further develop your skills, the clear, in-depth instruction on this video is for you!
Off the hump
Once you’ve mastered the basics of throwing, you might start thinking about making sets of pieces that are all relatively the same shape and size. Jennifer begins with a great way to efficiently do that – throwing off the hump. Jennifer explains the benefits of this labor-saving way of working, and also tells you how to avoid the pitfalls that can come along with it if you’re not careful.
Though plates do not have the same challenging verticality of taller forms, they do have difficulties all their own. It can be hard to muscle the clay needed for a short wide form outward. They are also notorious for S cracks and warping. In this chapter, you’ll learn how best to overcome these obstacles and make flat, crack-free plates.
Pitchers can also be challenging because it is important to keep the weight down since they hold a lot of liquid. So Jennifer shares two options for pitchers. Starting with a one-piece pitcher, she explains that using 3 1/2 pounds of clay is the magic number for making a pitcher that will not be too heavy when full. If throwing a one piece pitcher is too difficult, Jennifer also shows how to throw a two-part pitcher with two smaller, more manageable pieces of clay.
Lidded containers are a fun form to tackle, but there are a lot of considerations that need to be taken when making them. Jennifer doesn’t miss anything as she demonstrates the ins and outs of a number of different lid types and jar forms. From measuring and trimming for a perfect fit, to drying and firing properly to avoid warping, these demonstrations will help you to make beautiful, functional jars.
Just because you have become proficient on the wheel doesn’t mean everything you make has to be round! In fact altering thrown forms is one of the best ways to come up with your own style. Jennifer’s demonstration of an altered oval casserole dish will get your wheels turning imagining other ways you can alter bottomless thrown cylinders.
What’s great about this video is that Jennifer not only thoroughly conveys the mechanics of building your wheel throwing skills, but that she gives a variety of options throughout that will help you figure out your comfort zone. If you are craving information and inspiration for broadening your throwing skills, you’ve come to the right place!
About the Artist
Jennifer Allen received her BFA (2002) from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and her MFA (2006) from Indiana University, Bloomington. In March 2008, the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) named her a National Emerging Artist. Jennifer was the recipient of the 20062007 Taunt Fellowship at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. She is currently a member of an online collective of ceramic artists called Objective Clay (www.objectiveclay.com). In addition to keeping a home studio, she currently teaches ceramics at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. To learn more about Jennifer Allen, please visit www.jenniferallenceramics.com.