Learning to Create


Pottery Without a Wheel

Creating beautiful objects with clay has always been a wonderful way to spend a few hours. Many people think of round objects when they think about pottery. After all, that's why potter's wheels were invented. There is no better way to create the perfect round shape than using a wheel. All the sides are the same and the shape will definitely be round. Of course, not all pottery needs to be round.

Imagine a platter for a large gathering. Those are not usually round, they are rectangular. These are definitely not an item to be made while using a pottery wheel. Even if the basic shape could be formed on them, it would still need to have the sides straightened and be longer one way than the other. This is one of the wonderful parts of working with clay. It can be formed by hand and does not always need to be round.

Making rectangular items may be a big challenge for someone new to working with clay. A platter will need to be longer one way than the other. It will also need to be indented in the middle, and the ends will have to curl up to contain items. While this is not an easy item to make, it will certainly be rewarding when the piece is finished. Working with clay this way means taking the time to gently sculpt the clay by hand into the desired shape.

Once the final shape has been achieved, the potter must wait until it dries and is kiln fired. This is a slow process, but worth the wait. The potter then has a chance to stain or paint their rectangular platter and glaze it. One more firing to go and the finished piece is ready for the table or to be given as a gift. It does take more time to create a pottery piece that is not round, but a great many artists have found out that round is not always what they need. Sometimes it pays to think square instead. A group of platters that can fit onto a buffet table are much more useful than a group of round bowls would be. Pottery is about creating what is useful and wanted. Hand shaping a piece this way is ideal.