Throwing on the wheel has a rhythm of its own. You start with this lump of clay, wedging it to remove all of the air pockets and bubbles before placing it on the center of the wheel.
Probably the most important part of wheel work is the centering of the clay. Without being centered you may end up with a very wobbly piece...if it even makes it through the throwing process. I have to admit that this is my least favorite part of throwing. The wheel begins spinning. (On my wheel I control the speed with a foot pedal.) You squeeze the clay up with the insides of your hands and then push it down while exerting great pressure. At this point, your elbows rest on your knees so as to give you better leverage. It can take a lot of muscle at this stage!
Once it is centered and the wobble is (hopefully) gone...my favorite part begins. By pushing down into the center of the clay with both thumbs you make an opening for your creation. I decided to just experiment with some little bowls so as not to push my luck.
As the clay is whirring around and around you slowly put equal pressure on the inside of the piece as well as the outside and carefully make your way up the clay. The lump now has the beginnings of walls.
I find this so relaxing as the clay slowly begins to take form in your fingers and you continue to bring it higher and higher. I love the calming feeling of the wet clay gliding under my finger tips and beginning to thin out. I keep rewetting the clay with my nearby sponges so that it will ease my ability to stay in control of the piece.
That description above is for the very best scenario. The reality of my experience was that sometimes I got it shaping up only to have the whole thing collapse on me. Because a few pieces weren't centered exactly right...I also had a few situations where the clay got so wobbly that it got out of control and flew off of the spinning wheel. Needless to say, I was covered in wet clay by the time that I finished!
However, when all was said and done, I was able to produce a few bowls...I added some funky legs or ball feet to them...incised them with some texture and put them on the shelf to dry. Here they are in various stages of drying....
They are certainly not perfect by any means....but, when they dry I can begin to paint them and add my own creative touches.
I am back to my hand-building today, but, I do believe that I will attempt the wheel again soon.
Of course, it might do me some good to take another lesson or two so that I will really know what I am doing. : )