Throwing Pottery Basics

I’m back from my fun holiday vacation and happy to be at Southwestern Community College teaching the Beginner/Intermediate Throwing class.  This, I think, is my favorite class to teach because I can watch the students grow from knowing nothing to making a teapot in 16 weeks.

One of my students recently asked if there were any good sites online to help her learn to throw. Here is a short list of sites that can help anyone learn to make a pot on the wheel:

YouTube is a GREAT start!  Search terms may be: centering pottery, centering clay, wedging clay, pottery wheel basics, etc.  Expert Village has a vast number of videos on Youtube.  I have to say, watch more than one!  Everyone throws a bit different, and not everyone is a good teacher.  The more you see, the better it will translate to you.

Another place to find videos is the Ceramic Arts Daily website.  This site is brought to you by the publisher of several ceramic arts magazines, and so they are interested in selling.  However, beside the selling points, this site offers great tips for the new and initiated potter!  Videos, books, shortened articles from their magazines, etc.

Lakeside Pottery has a pretty extensive site for a small studio in Connecticut.  They posted photos of each step of the throwing process, handbuilding techniques, surface decoration and more.  They really do a GREAT job online, and I am sure they do a mighty fine job in person if you happen to live near them and take a class.

About.com does a great job with both photos and text to help any beginner potter.  I particularly like their tutorial on wedging (preparing) clay for those with hand a wrist strains, called the Cut and Slap method.

These links should keep a beginner occupied online for several hours.  Perhaps in the near future I will post a list of books I recommend for learning about throwing pots on a wheel.

Until then, if you are in Bryson City, North Carolina, check out the classes I offer at Pincu Pottery or consider taking a class at the Heritage Arts Institute!

HAPPY THROWING!

Learning to Throw

Anita learns to throw a pot

 

SCC vs WCU

I don’t want to get down and dirty, but I cannot help myself…..

In a few weeks (Nov. 6) the WNC Pottery Festival in Dillsboro will take place; and amongst the fabulous potters proudly presenting their wares on this beautiful fall day will be two booths – one filled with Southwestern Community College’s Heritage Arts ceramics students’ works and the other filled with Western Carolina University students’ works.

There is no official ‘competition’ between these two schools’ ceramics programs, though I must admit that we at the community college like to look at our university neighbors and think quietly to ourselves, “WOW!  Our students are just as good as our university neighbors and receiving just as good, and much less expensive, education in the ways of wheel-thrown clay!”

Uh-oh!  I may be getting myself in hot doo doo for saying that, but it’s true!  We pride ourselves on the fabulous facilities here at Southwestern Community College: 3 computerized electric kilns, 1 small sitter kiln, about 30 electric wheels of different manufacturers, a Thomas Stuart kick wheel, one updraft gas kiln, 1 Manabigama fast-fire wood kiln – for soda firing as well as wood, one Olympic Raku kiln and other kiln parts ready for use in experimental capacities.  We also have 2 North Star slab rollers and 2 mounted extruders.   Add one de-airing Peter Pugger to that list…..  Hmmmm… a fully stocked glaze lab with both digital and weighted scales, air compressor for glaze spraying…. I’m out of breath!  I probably forgot something, too!

And did I mention the fine instructors?  OK, I admit I am a bit biased being one of them, but seriously…. JoeFrank McKee and I are both members of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild and have had good training at the University of North Texas and the University of Florida respectively.  Classes include wheel-throwing, handbuilding, craft fair creation and operation, glaze chemistry, history of ceramics, production pottery techniques and more!

Lastly, we are all so proud because the students ROCK!  These are mostly older students eager to learn a new skill, whether for hobby or next career.  We have even had several WCU students brave the 1/2 hour drive to take classes at SCC!  Several students have completed or are completing their Master Potter Certificate and truly it shows in their wares.  A number have begun selling their pottery in galleries around the area.  YEA!

So… come out and visit the WNC Pottery Festival and take a look at the Southwestern Community College booth.  Then mosey on down to the Western Carolina University booth.  You tell me…. who should be so proud?!

Kids classes and NEWS!!!

I have just posted some local kids classes on my webpage – on the tab for classes.
For the 8 and up crowd, come and make Halloween decoration and/or make your Christmas gifts!!!
Check the Classes page for details.

NEWS!!! Pincu Pottery has been accepted into the Southern Highland Craft Guild!!!! Yippee!!! I am sooooo honored!