Pottery is an art that can take some years to truly master, and during that time, it’s reasonable to expect that plenty of mistakes will be made. Many of these mistakes can mean having to start over, but each one also provides the opportunity to learn and make a better piece next time.
For those getting into pottery, these are the three most common mistakes made by beginners, along with simple tricks to fix them.
Not using Water or Wet Clay
This is one of the most common errors made by new potters, but it’s also one that’s simple to solve. Clay that’s too dry is just not going to work properly, and it’s going to cause problems. The problem with dry clay, or not using enough water, is the following: it creates wobble. It won’t stay centred on the wheel, and it won’t be simple to form. It appears to fall apart when you attempt to insert the clay on the wheel, but it can be hard to operate and it can cause problems with smoothness.
The type of clay you put on the wheel is important, and it should have the following characteristics: Easy to use, a little bit wet so you can shape it, and it should be strong enough to stay centred on the wheel. So, if you notice that for whatever reason your pottery doesn’t stick on the wheel, there are a few things you can do to fix it. Having a splash pan on hand, along with wetting your hands before you work with the clay makes it much easier to work with.
This is another very common one that many beginner potters tend to have an issue with. This is usually performed more by beginners than anyone else because they haven’t quite learnt where their arm is meant to sit.
One of the reasons that this becomes a problem is the amount of force that you exert on the clay while shaping it. The more force put on the clay, the harder it is to shape, and it can be made a lot easier by simply allowing the clay to shape itself in a sense, while using tools to refine that shape.
Pushing On The Clay
This is tied closely with the positioning of your arms, and it’s such a common mistake that many beginners might give up out of sheer frustration, and rather spend the time playing bingo Australia. Using a certain amount of force makes all the difference, but it’s important to learn how much force is actually meant to be used.
Wetting your palms with the spray pot you have, and then putting your palms straight over the clay while pressing and holding your palms on the clay for about 1-3 seconds is a good way to start. Slowly raise your fingers and continue to repeat this method again and again until you push your tray into it at a more gradual pace.