Saturday, February 21, 2009

Throwing off the Hump!

In a recent post I mentioned the process of "throwing off the hump". This may give rise to strange mental images which may, or may not, involve camels. So I thought I had better put a photo on my site to clarify things. The photo was taken by Tony Warren, a clever photographer who probably makes me look more competent than I really am!

Throwing off the hump is a very effective way of working, and I am starting to really like working this way. You only really need to cone up the big hump of clay once, then the top most part of the hump is centred, and the first pot is made with a fairly light touch as the pot is being made on a squishy lump of clay, rather than on a solid wheel head.


zach.larson said...

i just started this form of throwing and my biggest problem is cutting into my mug/bowl when i take it off. any advise on a better way of marking where the right place to cut is?

Peter said...

Hi Zach,
Welcome to my site, it is good to hear from you. Regarding marking the right place to cut...

Sometimes I have found it helpful to lower a little stick into a pot and measure the inside depth, then hold it against the outside of the pot to see where the bottom of the pot would be.

A more sophisticated version of this device is one that I have seen in photos of Japanese potters who sometimes used little guides that are made out of bamboo, and look somewhat spider-like. A bit hard to describe, but... think of a short length of bamboo dangled vertically into a pot, and two horizontal cross pieces of bamboo that are loosely tied to it and sit on the rim of the pot to help keep the bamboo vertical. The cross pieces are able to slide up and down the vertical so the vertical can be used to measure the depth.

Some measuring with a stick might help a bit, but I honestly think that the best thing is to do lots and lots of throwing! Cut some of the bowls or mugs in half after throwing them (good ones and bad ones) to see how they are for thickness and evenness. You will find that, after a lot of practice, you will start to be able to judge things mostly by eye.

Good luck! P :)