Pottery by Melissa Beckwith
Melissa Beckwith centers a ball of clay on the potter's wheel.
Centering is the MOST important step in throwing clay on the potter's wheel. It takes a lot of practice.
Once I am sure the clay is centered, I create a small divot in the top.
Now I start to "open" up the ball of clay.
I love watching the clay morph through my fingers.
Now I work on the bottom cavity of the pot and in preparation of forming the top of the pot.
Here I begin to "pull" the wall clay up to carefully form the walls of the pot.
Once I get the achieved height of the pot, I make a few more passes up the walls of the pot to be sure there is even thickness from bottom to top.
Attention to the "lip" of your pot is critical, especially when making mugs. A nice smooth lip is best for sipping coffee and tea.
I sometimes use a rib to help compress the clay particles for a stronger wall.
Once the walls are pulled, I start to shape the pot's form. Here I am bellying out the side walls.
I think it is very important to give special attention to the lip and to the foot to give each pot a professional finish.
I start with a wider base when making a dish or plate.
I leave a little extra clay at the top so I can compress that section at the end and also so the top part doesn't get to ragged.
I tidy up the bottom of the pot where there is often an exess of clay.
Once the pot is finished, I let it slowly dry for a half a day or so (depending on the weather) and then flip it over, put it back on the wheel and trim the base or "foot.
Finished greenware pieces dry slowly in the studio.