Behind the scenes we have been doing lots of team training at Tarka Pottery. This week we all delved deeper into ‘turning’ – the process of trimming the bottom of thrown pots.
collection of turned pottery

There’s a real knack to catching your pot just at the right stage – leather hard but not too wet or too dry!

A traditional type of foot ring is cut into the base of a thrown vessel, to stop a pot wobbling and allows for the glaze to be wiped off – so it doesn’t stick to a kiln shelf during firing.

We played with creating rough and smooth surfaces to the walls and creating various styles of traditional feet along with some smooth and contemporary spiralled bottoms too.

We only used water to suction our pots firmly to the wheel, some people prefer to use chunks of clay to secure their pot too. It’s a very important step to get right, along with making sure to stop the wheel quickly if your pot flies off – a good example of what can happen if you don’t stop in time is in the first image at the bottom of this post! This example still looks pretty artistic though we think…

If the pot is too dry when you do your turning, you may get an effect called chattering, which although isn’t always created deliberately, made a lovely shell-like effect in the third image at the bottom of the page.

We find that lots of students struggle with the idea of trimming the bottom of pots and bottles with slim necks. Jax demonstrated how to make a Chuck – a sacrificial thrown pot used to support the neck whilst you trim the bottom.

It was fun to try and a real confidence booster to everyone who had a go! Have a look to the right for an example.

When teaching, the team save any pots they make for turning practice either for the team or for students. It’s a great way of reusing pots that aren’t going to be kept. After this session, they were consigned to the recycling bin – to be made into bigger and better pots another day!

turning with a chuck

We love teaching people to throw and turn – whether you’re here for a day or two or join one of our regular term time classes. If you’d like to practice or learn the art of turning, get in touch to find out more.

pottery wheel trimmings
thrown pottery
turned pot with a swirl