22 May 12

Process: Making ceramic yarn bowls

I’ve been really busy making yarn bowls for the last couple of months in the buildup to Woolfest in June. I thought it might be interesting to take a more in depth look at the process of making yarn bowls as they’re one of my most popular items.

Little Star yarn bowls are a relatively new addition to the shop – in the making their main characteristic is the inner sweeping curve that cups the ball of yarn as it rolls around inside.

Like most pieces yarn bowls start off as just lumps of clay on the wheel head, there are only two basic shapes for beginners to learn and bowls are considered the easiest. Personally I find straight sided cylindrical forms easier to work with but maybe that’s just how my mind works!

Ideally bowls have two sweeping curves; one on the inside and one on the outside. For pottery beginners its the centrifugal force of the spinning clay that helps make it wider. As a piece moves further out from the centre of the wheel head its orbit becomes faster – so the inside of the bowl is moving slower than the outer rim.

Anything with curves can be quite awkward to reproduce in multiple batches. Very quickly you can find that bases become narrower, rims become wider and you’ve got an entirely different shape to one you started out with.

When I’m sitting at the wheel making bowls theres always a moment when you hit your stride. It’s the point every one reaches the right dimensions from each piece of clay, that’s pottery zen.

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