A Wheely Good Time GUARANTEED!

Well peoples it is another update from the workshop to share with you and the fine folks at Mud Colony.

My WHEEL finally arrived! And so the arduous task of learning how to throw has begun. I learned the basic principles a few years ago doing what they call a City and Guilds course here. The throwing instruction was woeful.

It was a two year course that ran as a once a week three hour night class. My instructor should have had us all on the wheels (there were five among about 15 of us) that first class and then for at least 30 minutes each and every class for two years. Instead we were introduced to it four weeks from the end just to get something out to pass the evaluation.

Check back tomorrow when I will be posting up a new free cross stitch chart!

Yay for YouTube. There are some great people on there sharing their experience and knowledge and I have been able to pick up quite a lot in my first week. Well I thought so anyways.

Oh yeah! I took a week off of work to get started with this. Four hours a day for a week wrestling with clay.


This is what I made on the first day. A great big pile of goop. I just about managed to get some one pound balls centered. This is what was not salvageable for wedging up for the next day. I have a slip casting experiment scheduled for this weekend.


These two little sort-of-cylinders are about three or four inches high. Bear asked if he could keep the first thing I managed to make which is why the one on the right didn't get recycled. And then I got sentimental and wanted to keep the second thing I made. For posterity like. I guess these two things fall into that great big black hole of BS that people are calling Wabi Sabi. More on that rant later peoples.


This was the last day of the learn-to-throw week. You are looking at five and six inches here. There were other pots that made it off the wheel but none worth saving. These two were kept because they were robust enough to try some trimming on. They will probably go for recycling as well.

As you can see the Cylinder has not quite been mastered.  This weekend I am on my own and plan to spend probably eight hours on the wheel. Centering is getting easier. It takes me about a minute rather than half an hour to get one pound of clay fairly square on. There is still a bit of wobble and getting myself into the right position for leverage is taking some trial and error.

This position actually played a great part in improving over my first week at it. The first day I was sitting way too far away from the wheel and too low. Which lead to a lot of frustration. It was hard enough and I just made it harder for myself by being in a position where centering was barely possible.

What I have learned so far:

  • Throwing pottery should not give you scars. If  your hands are bleeding you are doing something wrong. (yes this actually happened and I could not do anything on the second day!)
  • Do not throw in the house. The shed is there for a reason and paint is expensive.
  • You wheel does not have to be going as fast as it will go. Your boney girl arms will just have to work harder.
  • Relax. Learn to enjoy losing.
  • You do not need ten litres of water to center a one pound ball of clay.
  • Knead your clay before throwing.

If you have any tips for a beginer thrower I would sure love for you to share them!

About My Wheel
After much hemming and hawing and research  and measuring the shed I went for the compact and British made Discus Craftsman. I am really pleased with it. As much as I would have loved a big all-in-one integrated type wheel there simply is not space for it. The Discus was THE answer for me. And no they didn't give me a free one to say that!

As you may not be British the fact that I decided on the British wheel (rather than a US or German or Japanese wheel) may not interest you. But it was an important factor in my decision. Britain used to be a power house of manufacturing and engineering. For whatever reason British industry has lost out over the years to cheaper goods from other countries. And this has totally messed up the British economy. How competitive can you be when your only exports are bankers and crap pop music?

I live in Britain and that has to be my initial market. Buying a British wheel supports industry in the country where I am trying to sell my stuff. By supporting the industry in that country it helps to create jobs which means more people will have more money with which to buy my work. Ta Da!

Have you made a similar decision in your work? What were your considerations when buying a wheel or other piece of equipment?

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