Steps 3 & 4
Creating Pottery: Making the Hole
and Opening up the Form

This is where the fun begins in creating pottery. As we open up the centered ball of clay it begins to take on the shape of a pottery bowl. Follow these steps to make a hole in the center and then pull it open.

Next Video - Finishing the Floor

1) Spin the wheel at medium speed.

2) Using the thumb of your right hand press down gently into the center of the clay. Remember good body position when making pottery. Your chair should be close to the wheel, elbows braced against ribs, forearms can rest against your thighs. Use your left hand to support your thumb to prevent it from wobbling.

3) After you've gone an inch into the clay, pause and add some water so you don't stick. Continue into the clay with your thumb until you are half an inch (the thickness of your thumb) from the bottom.

This is the same technique whether you are starting a small pottery bowl, a large coffee mug, a vase, or even a ceramic dog bowl. Whichever type of clay pot you choose, when creating pottery you follow the same process.

4) Now using the fingers of your right hand pull the clay open into a bowl. It should start out as a thick, short bowl at first. Only open up the clay about 1-2 inches. If you pull too far, the walls of the bowl will fall off of the base. For now, leave the walls thicker (about 1 inch thick). We'll thin them and make them taller in a later step.

Great Job! Your clay is starting to look like a pot. In the next step you'll continue building the form of the pot. You're really creating pottery now!


Your pot should be sturdy and evenly centered at this point. If your pot is wobbly or uneven one of these things may have gone wrong.

A) The clay walls became too dry while pulling the clay open. This causes your fingers to stick to one side of the pot more than the other. Solution: Use more water.

B) When creating the hole your thumb may have been off center. You'll know this because when you press your thumb into the clay it should not move from side to side. If you haven't pushed too far down, you can correct this by re-centering the clay and starting the hole again.

If you've already begun to open the pot and it has a good wobble, you'll want to remove the clay, re-wedge it, and start over.

When you're ready, go on to step #5,

making the floor.

Return from Creating Pottery Opening the Form
to Make Your Own Pottery

Return from Creating Pottery Opening the Form
to Home

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