Throwing Techniques

Throwing Techniques is a collection of more than thirty carefully selected projects from more than two dozen talented ceramic artists. Get your creativity flowing as you discover the secrets to making ...(Scroll for more.)

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 Softcover | 136 Pages
Order code B155 | ISBN 978-1-57498-348-7

…a variety of lidded, closed, and spouted forms; constructing large pieces; altering thrown shapes; and much more. Through the use of hundreds of step-by-step how-to images, master potters share their expertise so you can expand your skills and get the most out of throwing.

The wide variety of outcomes that can be achieved with a spinning wheel is astounding. The selection of projects in this book are a testament to that variety, and the variety of methods that artists use to get to those outcomes. Some embrace the roundness of wheel-thrown pots, while others find new shapes; some throw parts to be assembled into totally new forms, and some throw forms only to remove darts to alter the natural roundness of the thrown form. No matter where you fall in this spectrum, you’ll find inspiration throughout this compilation.

Closed forms

Making bottles and closed forms requires unique skills you can master when you know a few of the tricks. Matt Schiemann worked out a technique for creating whiskey bottles using a traditional bottle-making method, but added a twist for making a clay stopper. Rick Berman, on the other hand, happened upon a way to alter his bottles when he accidentally dropped one of them on the ground while moving a wareboard in the studio. Closed forms like salt and pepper shakers provide you with a way to really let your imagination take off because there are endless variations. Jen Mecca elevates her altered decorative shakers by setting them on a stage made from thrown parts, while Keith Phillips demonstrates how to make stopperless shakers that incorporate a bit of hidden engineering.

Lidded forms

Whether you want containers to protect and store food, or maybe you just like to stash treasures and keepsakes in a unique vessel, there’s something captivating about a lidded form. If you’re having problems getting your lids to fit, take a look at Billy Lloyd’s technique for getting a precision fit; or try out Bill Wilkey’s method for creating square thrown jars with square lids. If you’re looking for something more challenging, Martha Grover makes organic covered forms with a combination of thrown parts and slabs that work equally butter dishes or casseroles. At the other end of the spectrum, Marty Fielding’s geometric forms prove that round shapes from the wheel can easily take on an angular nature with lids to fit.

Spouted forms

When it comes to serving liquids, the pouring vessel presents challenges of its own. If you want to quickly get the knack of teapot basics, Nancy Zoller demonstrates how to make a batch of them at one time. Working in multiples makes gets you into a rhythm where you can quickly progress from piece to piece, trying out variations as you go along. Ewers are like small teapots and Martha Grover’s organic technique once again elevates a functional piece to a work of art you can use in the kitchen every day, while Marty Fielding demonstrates his thrown and altered square oil bottle on a stand. Pitchers can be a little tricky getting the right angle and shape, but Courtney Long’s batter bowl and Glenn Woods’ pitcher provide two approaches with completely different results. And Glenn’s technique for ‘throwing upside down’ is proof you don’t have to know how to throw a 12-inch tall cylinder to get a 12-inch tall form.

Bottomless throwing

If you’re looking for how to throw oval, square, and rectangular forms, beginning with a bottomless cylinder is the secret. Sarah Jaeger, Mike Baum, and Martina Lantin reveal their techniques for making everything from baking dishes to jars by cutting rings of clay from the wheelhead, altering their shapes, then attaching them to slabs to complete the forms. Deb Schwartzkopf uses a combination of bottomless cylinders and thrown elements to fabricate highly unusual dessert dishes that allows for an infinite variety of designs. But if you’re having problems slumping when you try throw a large flared bowl, Martina Lantin also demonstrates a technique for throwing the bowl upside down in two parts.

Cutting and Darting

Another way you can alter a form is to remove darts from the walls and close them up. Marty Fielding uses this technique to add angles to his pitchers to provide a visual lift, while Jane Sawyer cuts darts from the sides of her bowls to give them a sense of fluid motion. But probably the most unusual approach to altering a form is Sam Chung’s technique for cutting into the surface of a piece and adding clay, which has the opposite effect of removing darts. This additive approach results in a unique sculpted surface taking the thrown form to whole new level.

Throwing Large

Throwing large pots is really a matter of brain over brawn, but the techniques are specialized for this type of throwing. Mike Guassardo and Yoko Sekino-Bové cover the details for throwing large platters while David Schlapobersky of South Africa describes a traditional technique for adding height to a form using thrown coils. But you can also get large pieces by following the step-by-step techniques of Rich Briggs and Joan Bruneau as they throw and assemble multiple parts into large forms not possible any other way. And if you’ve ever tried to belly out a large round form only to have it collapse, Jim Wylder came up with a handy easy-to-make tool to preserve your efforts. Jim’s “rim keeper” prevents wide pots from going back to the wedging table, and it opens the door for you to try out something new.

The pottery wheel is one of the most versatile tools in the studio, and making round pots only begins to take advantage of its full potential. Whether you throw parts to assemble into totally new forms, incorporate slabs and coils, or remove darts to create unusual shapes, the wheel can provide you a quick way to get your ideas into a tangible form. Throwing Techniques goes far beyond any other book on throwing in showing you how to maximize the wheel’s full potential.


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