Potter's Wheel Classes with Cinda Mefferd

Focus on Three Things Per Lesson

For example:
  1. Spin the potter's wheel at the correct speed before touching the clay.
  2. Apply water evenly without scooping big handfuls of water onto the clay.
  3. Similar to placing a hand on a friend's shoulder to comfort him or her, approach the clay with care by applying gradual pressure that does not knock the clay off center.
  1. To make your hands and arms more steady for centering and shaping the clay, brace your forearm(s) on the potter's wheel splash pan or your body, and when applicable brace your hands together.
  2. Make your first centering motion a downward press rather than an upward lift to help the clay adhere to the potter's wheel.
  3. To avoid excessive centrifugal force, slow the potter's wheel down, as the pot becomes wide and thin or fragile.
  1. Before removing your hands from the clay, decrease pressure, and think "easy does it" to cue the gradual motion of letting go that not only aids symmetry but is rhythmic.
  2. Gently remove your hands and get more water before the clay becomes so dry that your hands drag and pull the clay off center.
  3. Think "pressure and counter pressure" to synchronize your right hand with your left hand.
  1. Coordinate Wheel Speed (how rapidly the wheel is spinning) with Hand Speed (the pace your hands travel over the clay) with Pressure (how hard you press on the clay).
  2. Breathe steadily in a relaxing way.
  3. Use your fingertips rather than your whole hand when raising the walls of a pot.

Three-by-three, dozens of steps can be customized to each individual and mastered. While away from the potter's wheel, any step can be visualized in the mind's eye or pantomimed until memorized.