Video: Ole Miss artist demonstrates how pottery is made on the wheel

Jane Anne Darken
Oxford Stories

Molly Chain is an integrated marketing communications major doubling in studio art. For her ceramics class, she had to compete for 10 cups on the wheel.

First, she gets the clay out of the community bucket and wedges it. Wedging makes the clay consistent and moves the particles around to ensure the entire ball of clay has no air bubbles. After that, she pats the clay into one-pound balls around the standard weight of cups.

She then moves to the wheel centering the clay in the middle and opens up the center by pressing her fingers down in the middle of the clay.

After this, she uses the needle tool to measure how thick the bottom of the cup is to ensure she doesn’t go through the bottom when she cuts it off the wheel when it is complete. Chain said it should be around an inch thick.

After the bottom is at the right thickness, she begins open the bottom of the cup while trying to keep it as flat as possible and open up the clay to the width of the cup she wants.

Next, she volcanoes the clay, moving her hands in and pushing the clay toward the center to even out the walls. She then adds water and begins to pull the clay up.

She pulls the clay up using an elevator motion with her hands, which brings the clay from the bottom to the top, trying to keep the clay as even in the walls as possible. Chain said only a few pulls will get you high with the cup.

After the walls are pulled, she uses a rib tool to help compress the clay on the outside and achieve the shape she wants. After perfecting the shape, she uses a sponge to get the water out from the inside.

She then compresses the rim to make sure it’s as even as possible with a nice tapered edge. She trims the bottom using another wooden tool and wipes off the excess water on the wheel using a sponge.

She stops the wheel and uses a wire tool to remove the pot off the wheel. She then gently moves it to a wooden board to dry. Once the cup hardens, she bisque fire and glaze it again for a finished cup.


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