There are multiple steps involved in creating a ceramic piece. It involves choosing what you want to create, choosing the type of clay you want to use, and then beginning.
Step 1 - Wedge the clay
Wedging the clay removes any air bubbles that might prevent the clay on the wheel from centering. It also gets the clay molecules moving in the same direction.
Step 2 - Make a ball out of the newly wedged clay and slam it on the pottery wheel in the center or on the center of a pottery wheel bat that is attached to the wheel.
Step 3 - Turn the pottery wheel on a fast speed as you use your hands to center the ball of clay on the wheel as it rotates. When the clay is centered, it forms a mushroom shape that does not wobble.
Step 4 - Change the wheel speed to a slower motion so that you can open the mushroom shaped clay. Your middle finger or thumb can be used to open the clay by pressing into the clay until your finger is about a half inch from the bottom and then pulling the rotating clay towards you.
Step 5 - The clay must be supported at all times on the outside of the rotating mushroom. Stability while the clay is transforming its shape is critical.
Step 6 - Pull up the thick walls of the clay using pressure on the inside and outside of the clay with your lubricated fingers. All shapes start with a cylinder and then various amounts of pressure on the cylinder is used to create different forms.
This process is just the beginning of making a ceramic piece on the wheel. After the initial shape is created, it then has to dry to a leather hard state so that the excess clay can be trimmed away and any designs or other embellishments can be added. The giffin grip allows the clay piece to be centered easily, but if it is not available, then the piece is manually centered on the bat and then secured with smaller pieces of clay around it to hold it in place.
After the piece is trimmed, it has to dry out again until it becomes bone dry.
After it is bone dry, then the piece is placed into a kiln so that it can be bisque fired. This first firing changes the clay to a concrete type state and allows it to be finished with a glaze. Glazes are paint substances that contain liquid glass.
Once the piece has been glazed in the kiln, then voila! Your piece is finished. I will be posting various stages of this process as I create and make different pieces of pottery. I decided to explain the whole process at one time so that if you follow me and you are not familiar with pottery, you will have some idea of what you are reading about or seeing when I seem excited.
Enjoy your day!