Remember the scene from the movie “Ghost” where Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze sat at the pottery wheel, hands in wet clay making pottery, and the song “Unchained Melody” was playing on the vintage jukebox? – That’s what I thought making pottery was going to be like.

Easy and slightly sexy.

I thought I was going to throw a ball of clay on the wheel and miraculously I would create mugs, vases, anything my heart desires.

Well, my friends, I was wrong. Very wrong.

I almost quit pottery after the second lesson because I couldn’t center the clay on the wheel -- if the clay is not centered, the piece will most probably collapse.

I share the very simplified process below.

In this picture, from top left.

  1. Wedge the clay to get all the air bubbles out, if not the piece might crack in the kiln.
  2. When the clay is ready, throw and center the clay on the wheel.
    When it’s centered, pull the clay and create the form for the vessel.
  3. Next, wait for the piece to be leather hard before adding handles, stamps or any details.
  4. Put the piece in the kiln for bisque fire. Then glaze it and fire it again.

All the while, you hope you have followed all the steps and pray that the piece survives in the kiln.
("Survival rate" can be tricky if you miss a few important steps like putting too much glaze or putting the piece in the kiln when it's too wet)