17 Jan 12

Process: Making hand thrown pottery bowls

I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a while, this takes you through the process of making a set of bowls.

The first stage is preparing the clay and getting it ready for throwing. You need to ensure that the clay is free from air bubbles and to do this you ‘wedge’ the clay before weighing it into balls.

Handmade bowls


Throwing then starts at the wheel, shaping the formless lump of clay into something recognisable. This stage only takes a few hours to create a set of bowls they then sit in the studio drying out for up to 2 days until they’re at a firm cheese like state.

They’re then ready for turning, removing the excess clay to create an elegant foot ring on the bottom. Again this only takes a couple of hours to trim a batch but then they’re left to go bone dry and this can take anywhere from just a few days to up to two weeks depending on the moisture content in the air and temperature.

Making bowls

Pottery bowls

If you’re counting along with me then we’re at around three weeks of making time so far. They’re also loaded into the kiln to be bisque fired which takes two days to cycle through the program and then finally glaze fired which takes three days.

Sometimes I think pottery really epitomises the contrast between our modern and traditional culture; it’s such a slow process in the face of heavy manufacturing for speed. When I sit down to make a piece I’m intensely physically connected to each pot, after all when you pick up one of my pieces your hands are placed where mine were during the process of creation.

turnings bucket

One comment

  1. Kate says:

    Ahhh….I have never ever tried to throw a pot….always wanted to though! One day!!

    It’s looking very smart around here…has your site had a redesign?? Nice anyway ^_^

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