Mastering the Wheel


Me having fun at the potter´s wheel

Have you ever watched that wonderful movie “Ghost” with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze?

If so, you surely remember that scene where they´re sitting together at the potter´s wheel 😉

If not, let me just say: it´s been quite a sensual experience they shared 😉

But what is more important: it realls looks sooo easy! Just slap a piece of clay on the wheel and in no time you´ve created a vase for example.

Well – it´s not as easy as Hollywood wants us to believe! 😉

I have aquainted myself with the potter´s wheel in the last couple of weeks and our relationship is far from being sensual or passionate (apart from me desperately cursing from time to time 😉 ). Don´t get me wrong: it´s lots of fun, but as is usual with things like that, it needs a lot of practice before you´re even remotely awarded with success. 😉

getting my hands dirty


There are a lot of things to be taken into account before you even can get started!

First: you need to knead and beat the clay until no air holes remain in it (closed air holes can lead to an explosion when the clay is fired in the kiln!).

Second: you need to form an evenly ball or cone (that depends on what you want to do) and then center it perfectly in the middle of the wheel.

And that´s where you r e a l l y need to be precise, because if you don´t the clay will just happily hop to the edge of the wheel and eventually fly away (because of that tricky centrifugal force 😉 ) – much to the amusement of everybody present! 😉


For keeping the clay in the middle and simultanously form it into shape you need quite a substantial amount of strength. After the first couple of times my back hurt awfully and my arm muscles were sore. (By the way: totally replaces the need for work out 😉 )

I´m still far from mastering the wheel but I did manage to craft a couple of forms, mostly bowls or little vases of which I´m unproportionally proud of 😉

my first pieces – fired but still unglazed (that funny thing on the right is supposed to be a candle holder;) )
obviously something went wrong here but I like it anyway 😉


Hopefully I can show you more – and better! – pieces soon 🙂

Published by Sarah

Artist & Illustrator

56 thoughts on “Mastering the Wheel

  1. So fun that you are a potter Sarah, and you look so happy sitting at the wheel!

    I have always wanted to take a pottery class, ever since I first was introduced to it in third grade by my teacher Mrs. Steele. That brave woman brought her ENTIRE 3rd grade class to her home, and we all took a turn sitting at the wheel for a few moments to see how it felt. No masterpieces were created that day, but it stuck in my mind.

    Finally got around to taking a class a few winters back, and you are right, not as easy as it looks! It is a workout, and just when you think you are going as planned, the side fall into themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your very lovely comment, Melissa!!! 🙂 Wow! Your teacher really was brave doing that!! But it is lovely that she took the risk 😉
      Haha! That´s exactly it – everything falls together the moment you start thinking: “Ah, I think I got the hang of it!” – BOOM! 😀 I can´t even count how many times that happened, but it gets less, so I guess I´m improving already 😉 So lovely that you also experienced that special kind of magic!! 🙂


      1. Brave teacher, indeed. But boy do I have admiration for potters that stick with it long enough to even get one piece to stand upright! 😀 Big lesson in patience, and so happy you are making progress.

        Have a magical Tuesday, Sarah!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha! You´re absolutely right: it is a big lesson in patience indeed!! 😉 Though oddly calming at the same time when you´re in the right mood 🙂 Wish you a wonderful weekend!!! xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I love that. “Oddly calming”. I have those in my life, and need to remember it is some times the things that we can improve on that give the most calm somehow.

        Oh how I love our conversations 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Aww – I love them too!!! 🙂 It´s so wonderful to chat with you, Melissa! Hope you´ll have some “oddly calming” activities this weekend! 😀 xxx


    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Jean!! 🙂 You definitely should give it a try sometime – it´s great fun! Many artists like to share their studio for a day or two, so just have a look around, I´m sure you´ll find someone with a wheel 🙂 Have a great weekend! Sarah 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. hihi…you dirty girl 😛
    That’s something I would like to learn too…maybe someday in the future I will visit you and you can teach me 😉
    ps..don’t forget about the guest-blog, please…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bravo Sarah! I love trying new things regardless of how it turns out. Each time will be a bit better. Yet you are way ahead of anything I might turn out… 😉 xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sarah, you are so right. Life is too short not to sample everything that speaks to us. We may choose another way, to move on but we tried it. 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Chris!! 🙂 It´s a wonderful learning process and one can see the improvements quite fast when continiously practicing. All in all it will surely take a year or two to bring it up to a professional level, but I´m looking forward to it! Wish you a wonderful last week in El Salvador!! Cheers! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I still remember that scene and definitely the message was quite strong 🙂 Thank you for sharing your experience learning this craft. That is an eye opener. I have a friend that does this too but he never mentioned the hard me. Now I am equipped to talk about it with him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You´re very welcome and thank you so much for your lovely comment!! 🙂 It does actually get easier with time. I guess your friend has been doing it for quite a while now so that it comes to him much more effortlessly 😉 Wish you a wonderful day! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! 🙂 Ghost is still one of my favourite movies and I guess that scene influenced me more than I knew 😉 Will post about my progress soon! Have a very lovely day! xxx


  5. The big reveal! ☺
    Is that THE harry potter’s wheel?
    Looks interesting anyway, and tough too. So many things look easy to do but are way tougher than we thought when we try them.
    The wonky one has character.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I wish it were! 🙂 That way the bowls would form themselves with magic 😉 It really is quite tough, especially after a couple of hours – imagine me getting up and standing a bit like John Wayne afterwards 😉 The real profession needs also 3 years of learning an practicing! Thank you for liking the wonky one 😉 Have a great day, Lion!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Terry!!! 🙂 As I´m still a beginner really, I do need about half an hour for one piece, sometimes a little less. But with time I hope I can make it faster! Have a lovely day! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Half an hour is not too bad – I am sure you will become faster with practice. I look forward to future pictures of your work. And a lovely day to you as well. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Sue! 🙂 I try to use it at least once a week for a couple of hours. It can be quite satisfying when everything comes together. I kind of like the lulling sound the wheel makes 😉 Have a great day! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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