November 2


This page will contain all the details needed to attempt the Wheel Throwing Project in Ceramics 1.

Wheel Throwing:  The creation of a pot using an electric wheel.  These pots have perfect symmetry and can take on numerous forms.  Most of the ceramics seen in the mainstream are created using this method.


  • Bat- a flat surface for supporting your clay while throwing, usually wood or plastic.
  • Centering- the process of controlling all your clay in the center of the wheel head.
  • Shaping Hand-your dominant hand (the hand you write with).
  • Centering Hand- your non-dominant hand
  • Wall Thickness– the process of thinning the walls and achieving the same thickness bottom to top.
  • Coning- the step after centering where the clay is flattened on the side and the top.
  • Pulling- the process of thinning the walls by forcing the clay up towards the top.
  • Trimming-  the process of shaping the bottom or the top to a finished look.

Assignment: The student will try throwing a minimum of once every two weeks for a total of FIVE  times for the semester.  The student should be check off for CENTERING and WALL THICKNESS.  The student will have the opportunity to make a cylinder for a graded project.


  1. Get out supplies (slip bucket, slip, tools and apron).
  2. Put splash pan on the wheel using the directions posted at the wheel.
  3. Get a BAT from the drying rack and put it on the wheel.
  4. Wedge your clay thoroughly.
  5. Slap your clay down firmly onto the BAT.
  6. Turn on the wheel using the lighted switch on the right side.
  7. Use the foot pedal to set the speed between MEDIUM and HIGH.
  8. Add a little slip to the clay and your CENTERING HAND.
  9. CENTERING: Use your non-dominate hand for centering.  Press your PALM no fingers) onto your clay at a 45 degree angle.  IMPORTANT!! You must press down and towards the center at the same time, keeping the edge of your hand in contact with the wheel head.
  10. HINT: You may wish to use your elbow against your knee or hip for leverage.  You must keep you hand from moving to achieve a good centering.
  11. Constant pressure must also be maintained with a steady hand.
  12. Releasing the pressure must be done slowly to keep from throwing the clay off center.
  13. If your clay is centered it will appear to be perfectly still with no wobbling.
  14. CHECKPOINT!!!!!! Ask the TEACHER to check for a good center.
  15. CONING:  Use you CENTERING HAND to hold the clay in the center but this time at a 90 degree angle (straight up and down) staying in contact with the wheel head.
  16. Use the bottom edge of your SHAPING HAND to press down on the top of your clay to move the clay down and out towards your CENTERING HAND.
  17. If done correctly, the clay will be flat on the top and straight on the side.
  18. OPENING THE HOLE: Keep your CENTERING HAND on the side and hold the centering.  Use the middle finger of your SHAPING HAND to press straight down in the middle of the clay.
  19. CAUTION!!!! Do not go all of the way down.  You must leave clay for the bottom of the pot.
  20. Change the speed to medium, but not too slow.
  21. WALL THICKNESS: Place your CENTERING HAND on the side of the clay and keep it centered.  Using the middle finger of your SHAPING HAND, press the clay towards you centering hand.  Go Slowly. Do a little at a time.
  22. Keep pressing until you have about 1/2” of clay between your CENTERING HAND and your SHAPING HAND.
  23. PULLING:  Keep your CENTERING HAND on the side and keep it centered.  Starting at the bottom of the inside use the middle finger of your SHAPING HAND to gently press towards your CENTERING HAND.  NOW keeping them the same distance apart, move from the bottom of the pot to the top.  This is one pull.
  24. HINT:  If the top starts to get too wide it will collapse so you must do COLLARING.  Use both of your hand to gently push the top of the clay back towards the center.
  25. CAUTION!!! You must move slowly and maintain a consistent distance between the finger and the hand.
  26. Repeat pulling until you get wall thickness that is straight and even.
  27. TRIMMING: Use the needle tool to trim the edge by poking through the wall and cutting off the top part of the clay.
  28. Have a TEACHER check you for even WALL THICKNESS.
  29. START OVER from the beginning.
  30. FINISHING A COMPLETE POT: If you are successful in the first to steps and are able to make cylinder then you must remove it from the bat.  Use the wire tool to cut underneath the clay from one side to the other.
  31. Use the pot lifters to pick up the pot from the bottom and place on a WOOD BAT.
  32. Let the pot dry to LEATHER HARD in a bag, open overnight.
  33. Trim the bottom of the pot to make it smooth and perfect, put on a signature a let dry to BONE DRY.
  34. CLEAN-UP:  Wash the BAT, and the splash pans using the water that is already in the sink.  Use a sponge to wipe them out.  Put the BAT back in the drying rack Leave the slip in the bucket with the sponge.


105 thoughts on “WHEEL THROWING

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