Pottery making can be a relaxing and rewarding hobby, but there are different approaches to creating your ceramic artwork. Two popular methods are hand building and wheel throwing. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each technique, and learn how to make pottery the fun and easy way.
Hand building is the oldest method of pottery making, dating back thousands of years. It involves shaping clay by hand, without the use of a potter’s wheel. Hand building allows for more artistic expression, as you can make asymmetrical shapes, textures, and patterns. It’s also more accessible for beginners, as you don’t need expensive equipment or as much physical space.
One advantage of hand building is that you have more control over the final product. You can shape the clay exactly how you want, and even add intricate details like handles, feet, or spouts. This makes it ideal for creating one-of-a-kind pieces, such as sculptures, vases, or decorative bowls.
However, there are some downsides to hand building. It can be time-consuming, as you have to wait for each piece to dry and fire before adding the next layer. The finished product can also be less robust than wheel-thrown pottery, as it may not have consistent thickness or structure.
On the other hand, wheel throwing is a more modern approach to pottery making, and involves using a potter’s wheel to shape the clay into a symmetrical shape. It’s often used for functional pieces, such as plates, cups, or bowls. Wheel throwing allows for more consistent results, as the spinning wheel applies even pressure to the clay.
One benefit of wheel throwing is that it’s faster than hand building, as you can make multiple pieces at once. This makes it ideal for creating sets of dishes, or large quantities of items for wholesale or retail. The finished product is also more durable, as it has a uniform thickness and structure.
However, wheel throwing can be expensive, as you need to invest in a potter’s wheel and other accessories, such as a bat, clay, glazes, and kiln. It can also be physically challenging, as you need to use your foot pedal and hands to control the wheel while shaping the clay. This may not be suitable for individuals with mobility or dexterity issues.
If you’re interested in learning how to make pottery, there are many resources available for both hand building and wheel throwing techniques. Local art centers, community colleges, and online classes offer workshops and tutorials for all skill levels. You can also find instructional books, videos, and blogs that provide tips and inspiration.
Whether you choose to hand build or wheel throw your pottery, there are some basic techniques that apply to both. First, you’ll need to prepare your clay by wedging it to remove air bubbles and improve its plasticity. Then, you’ll shape the clay by either hand building in small sections, or centering it on the potter’s wheel and using your hands and tools to create the desired shape.
After shaping your pottery, you’ll need to let it dry completely before firing it in a kiln. This process ensures that the clay becomes hard and retains its shape, and also removes any moisture or impurities. Once the pottery is fired, you can add glazes, paints, or other finishes to enhance its beauty and durability.
In conclusion, both hand building and wheel throwing can be rewarding ways to learn how to make pottery. Hand building allows for more creative expression and individuality, while wheel throwing offers consistency and durability. With practice and patience, you can develop your own unique style and create beautiful pieces that reflect your personality and vision. So grab some clay, get your hands dirty, and let the pottery magic happen!