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Clay Techniques

Throwing

When asked how a clay pot is created, most people probably think of that great romantic movie “Ghost” where Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze (as the ghost) create a pot (before it falls into a muddy mass) on a revolving wheel. That creative process is known as “throwing” a pot, and it’s done on a potter’s wheel. And, yes, that is a very popular way to create clay pots and bowls and any number of shapes. Just look at these photos of some of our members at work — throwing clay into beautiful creations.

When throwing, you start with a lump of clay on a flat cylinder or wheel. By making the wheel turn using a a foot pedal attached to the wheel it can be made to move slowly or very quickly depending on the stage of development. By applying pressure to the clay using the hands and various tools, the lump is transformed into a bowl, a mug, vase, jar, pitcher — yes, wherever your imagination leads you.

Throwing — it’s a well-known and definitely fun way to play in the mud. But, there are other ways to make beautiful and unique clay creations.

Coiling

Ever hear of Coiling? Coiling is a way to build a pot using coils of clay — long strands or ropes of clay.  You might remember that as a kid you used to put a piece of clay or Play-Doh on the table and start rolling it back and forth under your hand until it turned into a long, snake-like strand. Well that’s, in essence, a coil. But, now that we are grown-up, instead of rolling each coil by hand we have a machine – an extruder – that makes the coils when lumps of clay are pushed down into it. (It’s a lot faster to get moving on a project that way!)

Hand-Building & Sculpting

Raku

Raku pottery is created with a specific ceramic firing process that uses both fire and smoke to create unique patterns and designs. The raku firing process requires a special raku kiln that is fueled by propane and reaches temperatures of about 1800 degrees F.