How to Throw and Trim a Plate on the Pottery Wheel - Clay and Ceramics Class | Steve McDonald | Skillshare

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How to Throw and Trim a Plate on the Pottery Wheel - Clay and Ceramics Class

teacher avatar Steve McDonald, Excel and Photoshop Geek

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction to Plate Making


    • 2.

      Throwing a Plate on the Wheel


    • 3.

      Recentering Your Plate for Trimming


    • 4.

      Trimming on the Wheel


    • 5.



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About This Class

You've learned how to make a bowl on the pottery wheel. Now it's time to create a plate.

Follow this step-by-step lesson that walks you through:

  • Centering your clay
  • Opening the clay up
  • Smearing and compressing the clay down on the bat
  • Shaping and finishing your plate
  • Cutting your plate off of the wheel
  • Drying your plate
  • Trimming a foot into the bottom of the pot

This lesson does require some prior pottery experience. I recommend taking the Pottery on the Wheel for Beginners course before taking this course.

Meet Your Teacher

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Steve McDonald

Excel and Photoshop Geek


Learning is easier if you are given the right tools and instruction. In every one of my courses I take you step-by-step through the tools and knowledge you need to accomplish your goals. 

My talent is taking complex subjects (like Exce... See full profile

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1. Introduction to Plate Making: hi and welcome to my many course on how to throw a plate on the pottery will. In this short course, I'm gonna be showing you how to center your clay. Have to actually throw a plate like you see me doing in the video right now how to cut your plate off of the wheel, how to re center your plate after it's dried toe leather hard. And then how to trim your plate to put a professional finished foot on the bottom. This is a really fun project for anyone who already knows how to make pottery. If you're new to pottery, I definitely recommend taking my beginning pottery course first to get you ready for the challenges of plate making. And if you've already made a bull or even a vase, then this is the perfect next step for a fun project that's challenging and practical. So welcome to the course 2. Throwing a Plate on the Wheel: okay, today, we're going to talk about how to throw a plate on the pottery. Will, Obviously you can see here. I'm starting with a slightly larger piece of clay that I went for a bull or a bug. And a lot of the technique with throwing a plate is the same as it is for throwing a bull or a mug or of these. But a couple of things are significantly different and are very important to pay attention to. And those are the things that I'm going to show you today. Of course, the first and most important thing is centering McLay properly. But you notice him. I am starting with a bit of a wider lower base here because, of course, I am going to be turning this into a place senator. Basically the same little lower little lighter opening up. My whole same issue would for a bowl opening up the center, the same as they normally would Until I get about here. That's about where you would be with a bowl or a good size days. But now what I'm going to do, I'm gonna press really hard on this rim and what I'm doing here is I'm taking all of this play here, and I'm smearing it down and out into the plate shape. Now, the thing you want to not do is pull this up and out and over, because then what you're gonna do is trap goop and air bubbles in here under here, which you don't want to do. So impressing straight down into the into the back, into the wheel first. And then I'm gently with my fingers here, pulling and smearing outward. Yeah, give me an idea what that looks like. So this is kind of a small ish plate. I'm leaving a, uh, have a little rim of play out here because this will turn into the lip of the plate later. But now I'm gonna go back here into the center and starting in the centre and pulling outward. I'm going to just smooth everything slot and everything, and also I'm compressing the clay which is going to strengthen it. Now I can always stop and check the depth. If I have any concerns or if I want to check different spots, usually you can just look at it and tell. But check that So it's about a centimeter of my holding this nice. Yeah, not a centimeter there and which is just about right. You could go a little bit thinner, do you like, especially if and because you're going to trim this on the wheel after it becomes leather hard. And if you wanna go thinner, he's do what I'm doing. Start in the middle and press slowly and gradually out just drawing all that clay outward. - That all right now, Another way you can do this is to use a rib tool, which mine is not within reach. But the rib tool is like a It's a It's a wooden rib about this long and about that wide and has that nice, rounded edge on it. And you just take that edge and work it back and forth along here, and I will help compress the clay and smooth it. That's that's an option, and you can definitely do that. But you can do it also with your with your spines clean off the dupe. Okay, take a final past here and make sure it's nice and smooth. Okay, now it's form your room out here. I'm gonna press upward with my family. Little bit and I'm gonna pull up over with my finger from the inside. Obviously, open that out like that. Now, again, it depends on what kind of plate you want. But you can kind of do a deep dish by pinching and pulling up a little further where you can dio nice wide plate with a really generous rim. One thing that a lot of people don't realize is how how deep plates actually are to make them functional, you have to have a pretty good edge along here and a decent, uh, rim because otherwise, when you're eating food, if this is real shallow, the food will just flop right off the plate. So you really want a pretty decent scoop there? Okay, I'm gonna even go a little higher of this one thing. Be careful not to press down along the edge here because you don't want to create an indentation. You don't want this to be a bulge and an indentation right at the edge of your plate, because that not only makes food behave strangely, but it just makes it look funny. If anything, you want a very gradual, gentle slope going down to the center of the plate or or flat. I'm gonna dish side up just a little bit more. What, uh, make sure everything's smooth and you can use a tool like this. If you like to create a sharp edge along here, that's just kind of a matter of personal preference. And sometimes I like to use it like a finger here and create a little spiral that's also kind of a matter of personal preference. And you have to keep in mind that any time you have any kind of relief or verdict, you know, structure that sticks out from the plate, gonna make it a little bit harder to clean and slightly harder to use. So a lot of cases smooth. It's gonna be your best option. That's that will do it a tiny bit of fashion. The room here and there we go. Now also, what I'm gonna do with this, I'm gonna cut it free from the wheel, and then I'm gonna leave it on the back for basically just long enough for this rim to get leather hard. And then I'm going to sandwich it with another bat, sandwich it, squeeze them together and flip it over so that it can. It will be sitting on the rim, then on the base, congee up in the air, exposed here to dry toe leather hard, and then I'll trim it on the wheel. Here's a quick little video to show you how to cut a plate off the wheel, so that's that. Enjoy your plate making. 3. Recentering Your Plate for Trimming: Okay, I'm just gonna show you a quick, uh, a little lesson on trimming a plate. So I've got a disappoint that do earlier. It's pretty dry, actually. But for this demonstration, it will be fine to show you. Now, the first thing you have to do, you place it face down. First you have to do is re center it. So what you do is you get the wheel spinning, and this could be the biggest challenge for a lot of people. But this is a really good trick that makes it a lot easier to get the wheel spinning. Hold your needle tool, riel, steady at a 45 degree angle and just move in slowly until you can barely touch. And inside is a little bit of a line in the side of now. That's left a little line on this side, which means it's off centered this direction. So I'm gonna push it gently a little bit away from that line that I just carved into it, and I'm gonna spin it again, go in the same spot, and if you've done it right, the line that you're carving should just get a little bigger. Each time. Keep moving a little bit away from the line. Spend it again, and sometimes the line will get confusing, so you can pick a new spot just slightly below. And don't worry about carving into your pot here just a little bit. Just use light pressure, but if you carve into it just a little bit, you're going to go trim that off in just a minute. Anyway. Spend it again, and I'll tell you one thing. If your pots a little bit off center, that actually makes this process quite a bit more difficult. So that's kind of one of those things that goes back to You have a well centered pot. You're ahead of the game, but you should be able to spin the wheel and carve a nice even line all the way around it. When you've got it centered, right 4. Trimming on the Wheel: Okay, So once you've use your needle to center your peace or just use your finger, you've placed your two anchors. You're gonna rotate it. Take two more. These are just fresh. Uh, soft. Basically anchor it again and you could see I'm kind of running out of space on this bat because it's a tiny will, but that's OK. In fact, you don't really need nearly that much. These are just to gently hold your pot in place. If they have to hold it really hard than your pod. Is it up to off center or you're trimming to to ferociously or something. So just nice little pieces to anchor in place. One thing to keep in mind, be careful not to push in on the side too hard to crush your pot. And also, you can have to push on both at the same time so you don't throw your pot off center one direction. Now what shall dio and make sure it's firm? Get your pot spinning. You're just gonna use You're trimming tool to slowly and gently carve off some of this. Wait. First of all, I like to put my hand on top here. You could w kind of feel if you're getting any movement. If it starts to break free for some reason, then you can take evasive action. Stop trying to see I'm just taking off a little bit of time. By doing this, you minimize your chance of hooking into it and sending your whole pot flying. Now, as you can see, I've got a pretty uneven bottom here. So this kind of becomes a good example for you for your first try, because there's a good chance he'll be in the same boat. But what I could do to take care of that contract as I'm holding my stool very city CEO. This fingers coming across embracing my tool, my hand on the wheel and holding that really steady and just let the clinic come to you, chasing it around Carmen of a side a little bit here, too. I'm actually come. One more step in for this foot. One more. There we go. Okay. Now I can take off all this excess clay here. This is gonna really work to make a nice light, delicate plate. I'm see where my scratches were there. I couldn't car of those away. See how It's just coming off in those nice ribbons, these little curls. That's exactly what you want. That means you have the right dryness on your pot. Now, of course, before I put this on here, I checked the thickness of my pot in the weight of my pot to get an idea of how thick these walls were. So I don't carve all the way through. Because, of course, you don't want to do that. Okay, now that I've sort of here off stopped the wheel so you could take a look. See how this is really starting to come to shape here on the on the well here. Okay, Now we're gonna take some weight off the bottom and take some weight out of the center. Here, get the wheel spinning again. I'm just gonna go. I'm even gonna come in a little further on this foot because because I have such a non even spot and come and carved that out all those peacefully. And then when you want to take the weight out of the sun and you just put your tool right in the center, just get it started and very, very slowly. See, I'm just just scraping off a little edge of that, right? Get rid of that once in your way. Just taken off a little peel. Matt is just this just the perfect dryness of this clay here because it's just come off so nicely. Okay, then you could angle this piece in a little bit. I can't do that. Just give us a little flare. And then where I do have such an uneven bottle, I'm gonna take a little bit off this even up that foot, it takes the jump out of it. She has to be careful not to take off too much and carve your whole foot off. I go, I'm gonna take a little bit more out of the center here. There are larger carving tools as well, and, of course, is around end. I just advised being really careful with large tools because those are the ones where you hook a big piece of big edge of blade in here and you can really take a chunk out of your plate. And most and worse, you can send your plate flying and once sent flying, it's a good chance it's gonna not survive that. Okay, so there we go. Get that something you could make. This is perfect as you want. It's just really up to you. But I'm gonna keep it about like that. Take a little bit more on for this angle. Here, make a nice, delicate little foot. And then what I like to do is if you're Clay is soft enough, which this class just right. I like to take my fingers and I'm just gonna polish this edge, so that's trimming on the wheel. 5. Conclusion: All right, let's talk about what you've learned in this project. First thing you've learned is how to send your clay, how to throw your plate on the wheel, how to shape the bottom and compress the base. How to pull it open, how to dry your plate and how to turn it over and re center it and trim it on the wheel. Once you're completely finished with your project, you'll want to dry it upside down so that the foot is showing so that it'll dry as evenly as possible. And once it is bone dry, which usually will take a couple of weeks, then you can go ahead and fire it in your biscuit firing and glaze it and do your final firing and your plate will be done. Thanks for joining the course. And be sure to post a picture of your final project in the class projects