Pottery on the Wheel: Why Do It?

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If you’re someone who has considered doing pottery wheel potter but isn’t too sure yet, you’re in the right place. Pottery wheel pottery is something that many of us enjoy, and It’s something that we all tend to have a lot of fun with. But, why should you do it? What are some considerations when choosing pottery wheel pottery? Well, you’re about to find out. This post will discuss in greater detail all about pottery wheel pottery, and some major reasons why you should consider this.

Can Take you to the next level

The first reason why you should consider pottery wheel pottery is because it will take you to the next level.

There is really all that you can typically do without a pottery wheel. Maybe you’ve become an enthusiast who needs something better than a communal space. Well, a pottery wheel gives you that. or maybe you want to create intricate designs with pottery, and you feel like trying something new. Well, now you can with a pottery wheel.

A pottery wheel allows you to make some amazing and intricate shapes, including:

  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Bowls
  • Vases
  • Other circular items
  • Various figures that have a circular design

And they’re made in a much simpler way than other means. Plus, these wheels are good for virtually anyone, whether you’re a beginner or someone who’s been doing this for years. That’s because of the following:

  • A pottery wheel is much faster than typical means
  • A pottery wheel is simple to use
  • There are a variety of ones for all skill levels
  • You can get one as an expert to make yourself even better
  • You can get one as a novice to build up your skills
  • You can get one to stop having to go to a communal studio
  • You can get one even as a general artist that wants to expand the horizon of your studio

Having a pottery wheel doesn’t limit you, but it definitely will only help you to get the most that you can get from your pottery making. It’s great for both beginners and those who are advanced alike, and it will change the way that you make pottery, that’s for sure.

Allows for more in-depth creations compared to hand-building

Now hand building is one of the key beginning ways to make pottery. I’m not knocking it, but the problem with hand-building is the following:

  • It’s limited
  • It can be hard on the hands
  • It takes a lot more time
  • It is subject to issues with crumbling
  • It can have uneven surfaces

While you may be going for this for a design reason, it isn’t really the best way to make this kind of pottery, especially if you’re considering bowls and cups. It’s a good way to build small things, but if you’re going to be a serious potter, you need something better.

A wheel does give you more options, and while it is a different set of motions compared to hand building, it’s quite effective in terms of actually doing this effectively and correctly. With the wheel, you’ll be able to choose what you want to do with this, and from there, create the best results that you can from this, and do what works for you.

It’s important that if you are doing hand building, which is honestly quite limited, you start to embrace other options. With this, you’ll be able to choose for yourself the shape, and it can be easier when it comes to choosing the right sort of action that you want to take. You can get a wheel to help with individual needs, and also for those looking to make the transition into this.

Allows for an easier time making circular shapes

Then there is coiling. Coiling is a means to make some great types of pottery, including bowls and vases. Perhaps you’ve been making these for a long time, and while you may enjoy it, you can agree that it’s limited in a sense. That’s because of the following:

  • Coiling takes A LOT of time due to all the coils you need to make
  • Coiling is hard to perfect if you’re trying to go for something with an even surface
  • Coiling takes a lot more work since you’re rolling all the pieces and then putting them on top of one another
  • Coiling requires a lot more balance
  • If you mess up, coiling takes a lot more time to rectify than other means

Coiling is a good way to start with pottery, yes, but it’s not necessarily the best means to do this. With coiling, you’re ultimately sitting here putting coils on top of one another, and it does take a lot of time, and frankly a ton of work. With this though, you’ll be able to definitely and without fail to get the results that you want from this, and get the best results possible with a wheel.

Wheels are essentially a great transition for those who do coiling pottery because of the following:

  • You’re making circular shapes
  • You’re familiar with how to balance this out to make it work
  • You’re able to easily cater the creation to your own needs
  • You can still make intricate designs, it’s just a lot easier than it was with a coiling action

Coiling is good if you want to make something simple, but ultimately, if you’re ready to take your pottery to the next level, you have to choose another option, and really, one of the best options for you at this point is to consider getting a wheel.

Can hold Liquid and Other Items

One thing that pottery does that’s pretty awesome is that it can be utilized with great success. What does that mean? That means that it can be used in your everyday life actions to provide you with a great number of interesting dishes that you can use to better your life.

Wheeled pottery, makes them way more functional, because of the following:

  • They involve closed surfaces
  • They’re made more for eating and drinking
  • You can create them without any gaps or holes
  • They’re less likely to crack

Now, you can create various items with hand-building that do end up giving you a lot of great success. For example, you can create platters out of pottery, but they tend to have a weaker texture to them since they’re more subject to cracks.

Again, this also brings up the wall instance, where if you have walls that are uneven, such as too thick at the top, and too thin near the bottom, this will cause them to crack and break. It’s not that fun, and it’s something that can ultimately be a bit of a problem for you if you’re not careful.

With wheeled pottery, you can create more drinkable and usable items to help improve your life. You can use these for your personal use and consumption, and it’s ultimately pretty great. If you’re someone who does want to create your items, this is a great option to try out.

While yes, you can do pottery with hands and coils, and proof them with a glaze so that you can use them, a pottery wheel gets the job done faster, and it’s much easier for you to do in the long run, that’s for sure.

Some Considerations to Consider

When it comes to pottery wheels, they’re a great investment for both the novice and the advanced potter. However, there are a few things that you will need to consider. They are the following:

First, you gotta figure out the wheel. Wheels are an investment. They aren’t anything cheap. Typically, consider the following:

  • An average wheel is about 400
  • A really good one can be almost two grand
  • Good ones can be thousands of dollars

That’s because they involve special features and the like. If you’re thinking about getting serious about this, you should consider investing. There are other things to consider besides the cost though, such as:

  • What you want to create
  • The space in which you’re creating
  • How long do you want to use this

With those in mind, you should look for a wheel that fits your price. If you get a budget one, they’re around 500 or so dollars, which is more reasonable. But, they’re not as durable, have a smaller load capacity, and have a lower power and speed, and they’re more basic in terms of the abilities to use.

Another factor is longevity. How long do you think you’re going to be in pottery? Are you going to do this for a long time? Or are you just doing this as a small hobby?

When you’re considering this, you want to consider those factors, because of the following:

  • If you’re going to do this for a long time, you might want to invest in a better one that you maintain
  • A good one can last you decades if it’s electric
  • If you get a kickwheel one, it can last a lifetime

You need to consider this. are you going to be an artist who creates new skills, projects, techniques, and the like? You might find out that your beginner’s wheel is one you grow out of really fast. If you’re someone who is kind of a dilettante in the hobby, and not getting into it as more than just a means to relax, you can probably get away with a budget wheel.

When you’re choosing this, you should think about if you’re going to be using this same wheel five years from now. If you don’t see yourself doing it, then you should probably consider splurging.

Then there is portability. Moving your pottery wheel is something that isn’t necessary for everyone, but if you do need this, this is a big characteristic.

We break it down by stating the following:

  • Portable ones are smaller and lighter, and they load a whole lot less. If you’re going to be relocating, this is a very essential one
  • An electric one is also a very portable one, in that it’s light. Sometimes you can even get wheels on the back of it as well.
  • If you’re not moving around for a long time, you’re going to probably want a kickwheel. You can get these motorless, and essentially you operate the wheel. They’re super heavy, however, so they’re hard to move around. but remember, these tend to last a long time, and that is one of the big parts of this as well. kick wheels on average around 250 pounds. The electricity is about 25

Keep this in mind as well when you’re choosing a pottery wheel too.

Then there is the configuration. If you have a wheel head, remember that this is a moving surface, and you’ll see a piece that moves around at the center of the pottery wheel, which is where you throw the clay. This does come in different types of sizes, ranging from 8 to 14 inches or so. The size that you choose depends on the projects you want to create, so if you’re throwing something bigger, you’ll want to get something larger. You also want to think about if you’re going to do smaller things if so, get a smaller wheel head.

You should also consider the bats, which are the disks that are attached to pins, and they’re used to get something off the wheel head. If you have bats currently, you want ones that fit the wheel head that you’re using. So, remember the following:

  • The wheel head size
  • The shape of the surface
  • The bats that need to be used
  • The pin configuration, distance, and number
  • The pins that can easily be used on the wheel head
  • If you’re going to be trimming while on the pottery wheel

If you do see yourself doing the last thing, you’ll want to make sure that the pins that you use for the wheel fit it, and if the wheel has pins that fit it you can move this.

Some artists use plaster bats in some cases, and if that’s the case, you want to get a pottery wheel that comes with a wheel head that’s in a bucket style, which isn’t flat.

Then there is the workspace. You want a place that fits your needs, and also includes the following:

  • Space for the head
  • Space for the frame
  • Space for the source of power
  • Space for the work tables
  • Space for splash pans
  • Space for other accessories

With this, you need to see if the space in your studio will fit this wheel and if you can accommodate that. you also want to consider if you’ve already got a space for all of this as well. If you’ve got a workspace, no sense in investing anything more, but if you want to have an attached workspace to help with decluttering, that is an option, and you should, in essence, choose one that fits your style.

But, did you know that another thing that you should consider is how clean it should be? Do you care about your cleanliness when you’re throwing, or do you not care, and will worry about it later?

That’s where the splash pan comes in, and it’s a pretty nice little addition. Some wheels have his, and this tray is put near the pottery wheel, and it’s used for the following:

  • To keep clay and water off the artists themselves
  • To keep clay and water off the floor
  • To keep clay and water off the other areas

This can reduce the instances of messes when throwing, but there is a downside to this. It can sometimes interfere with the throwing itself, and you can determine whether you want a splash pan or if you can go without it.

To summarize, the electricity does the following:

  • It’s smaller
  • Easy to move
  • Requires electricity
  • Can sometimes be a bit loud when throwing with squeals and hums
  • Doesn’t require physical demand

It throws a bit faster for some, but some inexperienced potters have issues with the speed

The clay centering is easier with a motor, and the pedals that are there help with rotation and can be used for both righties and lefties

On the flip side, the kick wheel pottery does the following:

  • Very heavy
  • Can’t be portable and travel easily
  • Don’t need electricity
  • Very quiet
  • This can result in knee problems and arthritis due to the input of physical demand
  • Can be slower to throw, but you can get motors to increase your speed
  • It allows for decent clockwise and counterclockwise rotation, giving you a lot more control

These are some considerations to have when you’re throwing and are kind of important to remember if you’re going to be going into this process as well.

Tips for Pottery Wheels

Now that you know why a wheel would help, but also some considerations, what are some important things to know about the wheel? Let’s discuss the following:

  • You should always have both your hands and the clay wet. That’s where the splash pan can be of use
  • You should always follow the instruction manual when setting this up and look to make sure that you’re following the process correctly every step of the way
  • If you’re going to be doing the process, the wheel speed does affect it. If you’re centering, it needs to be very fast, if you’re making the hole, it should be pretty fast, if you’re pulling, it needs to be medium if you’re shaping, it has gone too slow, and if you’re trimming, it needs to be medium-fast to fast
  • If you’re touching the clay, don’t move suddenly, since it can pull it off. Your wheel speed affects how much of a pull it provides for this
  • If you see the clay going off-center, you should always correct it before it gets worse
  • If you see that your floor is cracked on the piece, that’s because there is water left, bad compression, or a thin or thick floor
  • If you have the clay walls thicker on one side rather than the other, it’s off-center at some point
  • If you have a cracked rim, you can create this by trimming a various pot with a dry or thin rim
  • You should always do your research on what works for you
  • If you’re not going to be using the pottery wheel all that much, consider sticking or investing in the communal studio, since that will give you the option to still do pottery without having to do a whole lot about it, and you can still use the wheel
  • Learn to use this, and you’ll get better over time. You may not become an expert overnight, but you’ll get the hang of it
  • Finally, if you have any questions, talk to the pottery teacher or look it up in the instruction manual. You need to get familiar with using the pottery wheel, since it’s a great tool but does take a little bit of work to get used to it

The pottery wheel, it’s something that you’ve got to work on for yourself, and something that can help improve your pottery in many different ways. There are so many different things that can come from this, and you’ll be amazed at the difference that this makes on your wheel itself. With the pottery wheel, you’ll be able to create new items and do pottery in ways that you never thought possible. You can learn how to use the wheel fast, and you’ll be able to create some amazing pieces, if you’re ready to become better at pottery, this is the way to go, for it can make a huge difference in the pottery that you create.

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