Potter's Wheel Classes with Cinda Mefferd

Choice Points and Key Questions to Ask and Answer

When approaching an intersection of streets, an essential question comes to mind. "Can I cross or do I need to wait?" Similarly, while making pots, questions and answers guide the process.

"Should I widen my bowl or is it already wide enough?"
"It's wide enough."

"Will this pot slump if I make it thinner?"
"It might because the clay is quite wet."

"How wide is the rim compared to the base of the pot?"
"The rim extends about an inch beyond the base. I could safely widen the rim at least two more inches, but I won't because I want a fairly straight-sided bowl."

Navigating pottery's "safe zones" and "danger zones" increases the likelihood of success. Landmarks for shape, hand positions, the amount of pressure to apply, grips on tools, and sequential steps can be noted and practiced at home using visualization, pantomime, and props such a bowl or plastic container.

Training the eye to contrast-and-compare is very helpful. So is planning ahead. For example, when first placing the clay on the potter's wheel, Why would I press in a downward (rather than upward) direction? To help adhere the clay onto the potter's wheel.

The following questions assess the pot's floor (interior bottom).

  1. Is the floor of the pot a good depth?
  2. Do I want the pot's floor to be flat or curved?
  3. Have I compressed the floor sufficiently so it won't crack?
  4. Is there any excess water that needs to be removed with a sponge?
  5. Am I being careful not to accidentally dig my fingers into the floor when I raise the walls?

Call Cinda 831-336-8021