Step 1
How to Prepare Pottery Clay
For Throwing on the Wheel

It is crucial to start off with great clay each time you make a pottery clay pot. Learn these easy techniques for preparing clay and you'll save yourself tons of time and energy.

Did you purchase your clay?

If so, it is pretty much ready to use. Clay companies have carefully formulated clay recipes. They process the clay using a pug mill so the prep work is done for you.

Many potters, including myself, will use store-bought clay straight out of the bag. Visit Blick Art Materials for ready-to-use clay like I use in the video below.

More meticulous potters will wedge their clay every time regardless of where they get it. If you make homemade clay, or are refreshing used clay be sure to wedge it thoroughly.

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Next Video - Centering the Clay


WEDGING- the process of kneading pottery clay to remove air bubbles, mix it to consistency, and align the clay particles to aid in throwing.


Two Wedging Techniques

1)Table Wedging

Take a ball of clay and slap it down on the table. Slice it in half with a wire clay cutting tool. Flip the top half upside down and slap it down hard onto the bottom half. Repeat this process as many times as it takes until the clay is smooth, consistent, and air bubble free. Be sure to slap the clay down hard to prevent air from getting trapped between the two pieces.

This is a great opportunity to check the consistency of the clay. Look at the cut surfaces. Run your finger across the surface. It should be smooth. It should have an even color (dark stripes usually imply dryer areas of clay). It should have no holes caused by air bubbles. If it isn't perfect, keep wedging. This is the foundation for your beautiful ceramic pot.

2)Spiral Wedging

This is a much more challenging method, but worth learning. It creates great results for you clay. Many potters prefer this technique because it lines up the flat, disc-shaped clay particles in a circular motion. This circular arrangement is perfectly suited to the circular motion of throwing on the wheel.

To spiral wedge think about doing the moon walk, only with clay. You're pushing the ball forward and downward into the table, while rotating the top of the clay backward toward yourself. Push down with your right palm, while lifting and rotating backward with the fingers of both hands. Then rotate the clay back toward you a 1/4 turn and repeat step one. Repeat this process until your clay is consistent.

When done correctly the clay will begin to form a spiral. You'll find a rhythm of rocking and pressing as you develop your technique.


Once your pottery clay is prepared, you're ready to get on the wheel and

learn centering.

Return From Pottery Clay Prep to
Make Your Own Pottery


Return From Pottery Clay Prep to
Home

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This website was created by Steve McDonald. He is a writer, self-taught web designer, and lover of all things pottery. Connect with him on Google Plus.