Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hand Built vs. Wheel Thrown

When I first discovered pottery, all I wanted to do was throw. I had no interest in learning anything having to do with hand-building and was fully consumed by the spinning and lifting of the clay. I have continued to create wheel-thrown pottery until this spring when I had enrolled in a hand-building class and became in awe of what I was missing.

Being a bit of a perfectionist, I loved the perfectly centered form the wheel helped create (on a good day). At first my impression of hand-built pottery was that it was very wonky and misshapen. However, once I took a class with Biliana Popova and discovered that you can create very symmetrical, smooth forms much like the wheel with liberties that the wheel just does not allow. I realized that I was keeping myself from something so satisfying. Hand-built forms, even when perfect and smooth still have a textile quality that cannot be reproduced on the wheel making you want to feel it, allowing you to unmistakeably recognize that a piece is hand-built once you hold it. If you never held a piece of hand-built pottery, do it.

I am not sure I will fully convert to strictly hand-building from now on, but I have developed a respect for the quality it creates and look forward to adding those elements to my future works.


Anonymous said...

opposite for me... started out handbuilding in school and then much later went to the wheel

Formosan at Heart said...

I'm thinking about taking both simultaneously, do you have any reservations about that?

Claying Thoughts said...

Nice post dear...I enrolled for pottery classes with wheel in my mind and in the very first class i fell for handbuilding pottery..Now my focus is entirely on handbuilding!!
Happy Claying