Pottery Tutorial
Throwing on the Wheel
(Step 1 - Centering the Clay)

Centering the clay is one of the most important steps in throwing pottery.  If your clay is not centered when you begin to pull up the piece, it will be off balance, and you will fight the clay the whole time.  When centering clay it is important to use your whole body.  Get yourself seated in a comfortable position, so that your forearm can press against your thighs.

Centering clay...
(Placing the clay in the center)
  Throw the clay down close to the center of the wheel.  You want the clay to stick well, so give it a good toss onto the wheel.

(Pat into a cone)
  With the wheel spinning slowly, pat the clay into a cone, forcing it to the center of the wheel.

(Use your whole body to force the clay into the center)
  Get the wheel spinning at a moderate to fast speed.  Wet your hands and the clay.  Begin to force the clay in to the center.  (Notice the left elbow is press into the thigh.  The whole body is used to push the clay.)

(Pushing the clay downward)
  Using the left hand as a guide, press down with the right hand forceing the clay downward.

(Bring the clay upward)
  Use both hands and your body to keep your arms from moving with the clay, press the clay on both sides to force the clay upwards.

(When centered you are ready to begin the opening)
  After the clay is centered you are ready to go onto step 2.

To go Step 2 - Making the Opening

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