I have spent the past couple of nights practising throwing with porcelain, a notoriously difficult clay body to throw with. (Porcelain is a very thirsty clay, meaning it both absorbs more water and requires more water when throwing to prevent the hands from catching. It is also more of a plastic clay body than others.) After not throwing anything for about a year, and having had little prior skill this proved challenging, so I spent a while practising just centring the clay, coning up and flattening. After an hour or two of this I attempted to throw some bowls.
My success rate is very inconsistent at this point. For example on the first day (using unknown weights of clay), I failed once, then successfully threw a bowl, following which seemed to keep messing up. Today (Using 1 pound balls of clay) I made several attempts before successfully throwing a bowl, and then continued to fail. I have started to weigh and log the weight of the clay I start with as this will allow me to easier find the right size for different objects.
Common problems I encounter which lead to the failure of a throw is overthrowing and thus introducing too much water to the clay body, accidental knocks that bring the work out of centre, careless knocks of tools leading to collapses.
Today I spent a long time practising throwing cylinders as bowls come more naturally to me, cylinders I find particularly difficult.
-Using a thicker wire to remove the pot from the wheel head will allow more air underneath, thus making the removal easier – particularly if the pot is slightly too wet.
-Wipe away excess clay from wheel head to aid in removal of pot.
-Different motions (eg. straight, Zig-zag or wave-like) with the wire will create different patterns on the base of the pot upon removal. As will different wires. (eg. thick, thin, coarse, smooth etc.)
Day 1 bowl: Note untidy base from body being too wet when lifting.
Day 2 bowl: Note deeper undercut making lifting from wheel easier. (This image displays the bowl on the wheel, however this bowl was successfully uploaded. Will insert image on turning post.)