Hey there! This is where wheel throwing really starts to feel like a blend of art and magic. Tall, slender forms require a bit more patience and technique, but the results can be absolutely stunning. Let’s walk through the steps and some helpful pointers.
Steps for Throwing Tall and Slender Forms
- Preparing a Strong Base: It all starts with a well-wedged, substantial piece of clay. You need a good-sized base for stability, especially for taller forms.
- Centering Carefully: Center your clay on the wheel thoroughly. For taller pieces, an off-center base means a wobbly and unstable form.
- Opening with Precision: Open the clay with care, keeping the base thicker for support. Remember, the base has to hold up the entire structure.
- Pulling Up the Walls: This is where things get challenging. You need to pull the walls up slowly and steadily, keeping them as uniform as possible in thickness.
- Collaring for Slenderness: ‘Collaring’ means squeezing the clay inward to narrow the form. This is key for creating that slender shape of vases and bottles.
- Shaping the Form: Once you have the height, start shaping the form. Whether it’s a vase or a bottle, this is where your creativity comes into play.
- Finalizing the Rim: The rim is both a functional and aesthetic part of the piece. Finish it with care, keeping in mind the overall design.
- Cutting and Removing Carefully: Tall forms are more prone to warping or damage when removing them from the wheel. Do this step with extra caution.
My Tips for Crafting
- Steady Wheel Speed: Maintain a consistent wheel speed. Too fast can make the clay unstable, too slow can reduce your control.
- Even Pressure: When pulling up the walls, apply even pressure. Uneven pressure can lead to uneven thickness and potential collapse.
- Patience with Collaring: Collaring requires patience and practice. Go slowly and don’t squeeze too hard, or the top might collapse.
- Continuous Assessment: Keep assessing the form as you go. Check for evenness, shape, and stability.
- Supporting Tall Walls: As the walls get taller, support them from the inside with your other hand to prevent them from flopping or warping.
- Letting it Settle: Let your piece settle a bit on the wheel before cutting it off. This can help prevent distortion.
- Dry Slowly: Tall, slender forms should dry slowly to prevent cracking. Cover them loosely with plastic to slow down the drying process.
My Final Thoughts
Throwing vases and bottles is an exciting step in your pottery journey. It’s where you really start to push the limits of the clay and your own skills. Remember, every potter has had their share of wobbly vases and collapsed bottles. It’s all part of the process. So, keep practicing, and soon you’ll be creating tall, elegant pieces that are a testament to your pottery journey. Enjoy the process!