05/10/09 In the Market for a Wheel!

Disclaimer: If you're really not THAT into making your own pottery, you're probably going to find the following very, very boring!

I want a pottery wheel. I NEED a pottery wheel.

Pottery wheels are expensive.

While I've researched brands and models of wheels, electric and kick, reading just isn't the same as doing! So, the other night I played around with the various types of pottery wheels at the ceramics lab.

I started out on the kickwheels - something I've never tried. Not really my cup of tea. I think there might be some tips I could have used from an instructor???

I liked that the seat height was adjustable, but didn't like the slower speed. No matter how fast I kicked, I couldn't get it going at the rate I wanted. I could also definitely see some knee issues if I used a kickwheel for years.... I guess that would be ok as long as I could get a rehab model wheel down the road. But considering how much I like to use my legs, this may not be the wheel for me.

It had the motor, which I DID remember to plug in! After reading more today, I found out I had to step on a lever to engage a rubber wheel on the base. (Is this where an instructor comes in handy? haha!) Basically, I was using it as a manual kickwheel!

Then I moved on to the Amaco No. 1 model. There's one for sale in Minneapolis, and I wanted to use one before I made an offer. From pictures, I wasn't sure I would like the seat.... I LOVE the seat! It's molded to conform to my tush. Nice! Way better than a hard wooden stool or the board on the kickwheel.

I also liked the height and positioning to the wheelhead. It was perfect for me to wedge my left elbow into my thigh when first centering the ball of clay.

This model has a high/low setting for wheelhead speed. I wasn't really a fan of that, but was prepared to keep an open mind after talking to a former instructor about wheel types. First, I had a hard time locating the switch on the side without stopping what I was doing and looking for it. The high setting was too slow for how I like to center, and the low setting was to fast for some of the more delicate throwing I sometimes do at the end when pot walls thin out. I think I COULD get used to those two speeds if I had to.

Turns out, each type of wheel has it's pros & cons - for me anyway. I learned a lot about HOW I throw. Apparently, I really kick the speed up when I center the ball of clay. Whether you're looking to buy a wheel or not, I would really recommend switching up your throwing once in awhile by trying a different piece of equipment.

...Someone remind me of that statement a few years down the road when I have thrower's block?!? Thanks a million!

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