Max Adelman @maxadelmanpottery

🏺Ceramics Instructor and Studio Potter at The Chicago Ceramic Center🏺 ⬇️For Available Pieces, Commissions, and More Please Visit My Website Below⬇️

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Max Adelman photos and videos

20 hours ago

Tap centering is a very useful skill in ceramics. It is a method that I wish I had picked up many years earlier, but like many aspects of this art form, I simply did not know that it existed. Tap centering is used to “center” objects on the wheel when they are ready to be trimmed (although it can also be used to attach items to the wheel such as bats ). This is done by gently but firmly knocking the off center section of the piece with your right hand. I am used to having my left land riding the piece as well to “catch it” on the other side, to prevent the piece from flying off the wheel from too hard of an impact. The piece in this clip was centered on the first round but I repeated it several times for the sake of repetition and demonstrating the skill. Tap centering can be done with nearly all pieces and I find to be a more accurate and (MUCH ) faster method of getting pieces centered on the wheel. In this case, I am tap centering a chuck to trim one of my vase forms. Trimming these shapes requires two steps. First, I must center and attach the chuck to the wheel with lumps of clay. Second, and much more challenging, you must center the vase upside down inside of the chuck. Doing so used to be the bane of my existence but now I have a very good eye for it. Also, apologies for subjecting you to a philosophy podcast if you turned the sound on (it’s not mine! ) __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #pot #stoneware #handmadeceramics #potterywheel #handmadepottery #potteryvideos #throwing #potterywheel #potterylove #handmade #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #oddlysatisfying

2 days ago

A large vessel, thrown with 11 pounds of white stoneware clay, drying in one of our studio’s workspaces. Some of you have noticed my change in clay bodies over the last few weeks. For a long time I threw with a great dark-brown clay that, despite being quite rough on my hands, was an overall pleasure to work with. However, from time to time I like incorporate different clays and remind my fingers how to react to them. I have thrown a good amount of this clay over the last few weeks in anticipation for a fun new project __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #handmadepottery #wheelthrown #wheelthrownpottery #stoneware #potterystudio #potterywheel #handmadeceramics #contemporaryceramics #modernceramics #keramik

5 days ago

A couple of shaping pulls on one of my medium-sized, brown stoneware vessels. Shaping wide-bellied pots is one of (if not the most ) difficult aspects of ceramics that I have encountered. The care, forethought, and precision that it takes to develop consistent curves on large amounts of clay cannot be overstated. It also helps to use as little water as possible and continually collar and compress the clay in the neck. I prefer to use slip whenever possible as a substitute for water. After each pull, I squeegee the slip off my hands and drop it down to the base. Anything that remains, I coat over the outside walls to reduce friction as my right hand moves up the piece. The less water you use, the less water the clay absorbs, and the longer the clay remains workable. I capitalize on this when I work. In fact, in this one minute clip, my water bucket remains entirely untouched ___________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #makersmovement #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing #oddlysatisfying #satisfaction

1 weeks ago

Mixing things up a bit with this tall-necked vase. These forms are quite enjoyable to make but the coning and pulling process to narrow and lengthen the neck is quite time consuming. I tend to prefer wider and larger-rimmed forms lately that I can throw in a more continuous movement. I had a number of requests to show more of the shaping process so I tried to include some of that here. Enjoy! __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #symmetrical #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #oddlysatisfying #ncm

2 weeks ago

One of my latest forms, freshly thrown and firming up on the wheel. When feasible, I like to throw my pieces directly on the wheel-head rather than on a bat. This allows for a firmer connection between clay and the wheel. After I finish throwing, I’ll allow the piece to dry for a few minutes on a slowly spinning wheel before delicately removing the piece and placing it on a board to dry. I have not worked with this particular white stoneware clay body in some months but am quite happy with the results. This piece was thrown with about 12 pounds of clay and stands 18 inches off the wheel __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #handmadepottery #wheelthrown #wheelthrownpottery #stoneware #potterystudio #potterywheel #handmadeceramics #contemporaryceramics #modernceramics #keramik

2 weeks ago

This shape is one that I have had stuck in my head for some time and was finally able to translate it into clay The delay in completing this form is not due to its complexity or difficultly, but rather my frequent inability to complete a project or idea before moving onto the next. My biggest problem in ceramics at the moment is that I enjoy it too much. That may not seem like an issue, but it is. Each new idea that presents itself to me is invariably better than the last and I jump into it without much thought Sometimes these new ideas are worth pursuing and are indeed superior to their predecessor. However, often this is not the case and something that could have been spectacular gets left in the rearview mirror or drowned out by the new project. Such was the case with this shape and I am thankful that I took the time to return to it This shape, one of my favorites that I have made in some time, was thrown with about 13 pounds of iron-rich stoneware and took 18 minutes to complete. Hope you enjoy! 🎶: @lakeyinspired __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #symmetrical #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #oddlysatisfying #ncm

3 weeks ago

🚨50k FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY🚨As a thank you to everything that you all have given to me over the last few years of my artistic journey, I want to give something back as a sign of my gratitude. With that in mind, I am going to be raffling off the piece in this image (details below ) It’s hard to imagine how far this account as well as my own artwork have come since I began working with clay. This page was never supposed to really be anything. Full disclosure, I actually only started it because some girl I thought was cute a lifetime ago told me that I should. This account served a totally utilitarian purpose at first, functioning solely as a journal for me to document and track my work and thoughts. But then something strange happened, all of you started following along with my progress and never stopped I’d like to say that my artwork would be the same without this page and without all of you but I do not think that would be the truth. Everyone always talks about how toxic social media is but I have found the opposite to be the case. I get hundreds of unbelievably positive and thoughtful messages every month from all of you saying how inspiring my artwork and journey have been to you. That’s a hell of thing to read when I wake up in the morning but it’s also a hell of a thing to live up to. That said, those messages have really kept me going and pushed me to achieve things that I never thought would be possible. I am truly touched by and grateful for the community that I have cultivated here. I hope that this piece will suffice as a small token of my sincere gratitude. Just a couple housekeeping notes while I have you all reading this. I love all the comments and messages that I get from you and I respond to every single one. I get several dozen messages every day so please try to be patient if I don’t get back to you immediately. Now to the giveaway details! Rules: 1 ) You must be subscribed to my website’s newsletter (link in bio ) 2 ) Follow my page 3 ) Comment the name of 3 friends that you think would like my work Best of luck! __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #giveaway #glaze #pot #stoneware #vase #craft

3 weeks ago

Scaling things up a bit with this Korean-inspired moon jar. This piece was thrown with 20 pounds of brown stoneware clay and took about 25 minutes to complete. Enjoy! 🎶 __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing

4 weeks ago

This is my favorite piece from our studio’s most recent wood firing. This round vessel was thrown with 11 pounds of brown stoneware clay and stands about a foot off the ground. This piece had no glaze on it before entering the kiln—the complex effects that you see on the exterior is the result of ash (and some salt ) falling on the shoulders of the piece and dripping down as the kiln climbed to over 2350 Fahrenheit. Every angle of this piece shows a completely different surface and character. The three light spots on this side of the surface—my favorite feature of this piece—were likely caused by globs of ash or salt falling from a higher kiln shelf, an effect that can never be replicated. Although I am just beginning to appreciate wood-fired ceramics, I can certainly understand why they are so coveted. I especially like that a pot can enter a kiln as bisque ware with no glaze on its surface and leave a kiln looking like this. There is something almost pure about it. This piece did not hide behind a facade of thick glaze when began its trial by fire. I really do not care for veneers overlaying the honest intentions of things. Whether I’m dealing with people or objects, I hate things that obfuscate the truth, whatever that truth may be. Wood firing stands out to me as something honest and true. This is my best piece that I have ever made and I will have a hard time ever seeing it leave my collection _______________________________ #handmade #handcrafted #pottery #ceramics #stoneware #fire #contemporaryceramics #ancient #wood #clay #maker #woodfire #craft #craftsmanship #woodfiredceramics #woodfiredpottery

4 weeks ago

This clip showcases how I trim the bottoms of my vessels. With the wheel turning a medium speed, I tightly grip my tool and begin carving into the clay. Before I begin, I always tap the floor of the clay with my finger or a trimming tool to determine the depth of the clay and will continue to do so after every one or two passes on the clay. The resulting sounds provides me with all of information I need to continue. Sound is an underrated sense in pottery but can be really useful. Sound tells me how thick the clay is when I’m trimming and how much water the clay needs when I am throwing. This is the reason I never throw with headphones anymore...I have to be able to hear what I am doing. When clay is the right level of dryness, a single sharp breath is enough to remove any excess trimmings that remain in the inner foot ring. A failure to remove these will result in your hands and tool getting stuck, leading to inconsistent trimming. I’m going to let you in a little trade secret: when you’re trimming, ALWAYS leave an outer ring on the base completely untouched. If your pot was left to dry on a flat surface then that ring that you leave behind will be completely flat as well, leaving a finished piece that hugs the surface it sits on __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #trimming #trim #potterywheel #tool #oddlysatisfying #potteryvideos #trimming #wheelthrownpottery #makersmovement #pottersofinstagram #satisying #relaxing #artisan #makersgonnamake

5 weeks ago

Coning is the process of homogenizing clay on the wheel and is one of my favorite movements, especially when working with small amounts of clay. I use very little water when doing this to keep the clay fresh. In lieu of water, I allow the slip I accumulate to fall back onto the piece as I move the clay up and down. It’s a very meditative and relaxing process and gives me a moment to plan out how my pieces will take form __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing

last month

Making my final gestures on one of my medium-sized vases with a strip of wet leather. Potters have been using this tool to finish off the rims of their pieces for thousands of years. The tool simultaneously removes moister from the rim and compresses the clay, giving it a smooth sheen. This particular tool has been in my arsenal for years. The leather is weathered from thousands of uses and has only gotten better with time. I did not realize this until yesterday, in fact, when one of my students took an unused strip of leather from my shelf to finish his piece. The difference was remarkable. This tool I am holding here is far superior to anything you could buy from a store or unwrap from a bag—to me, it is priceless. Things have been rather busy in the studio between finishing thrown works and doing other obligations so it has actually been some time since a threw one of these shapes. I was uncharacteristically nervous, but it’s nice to see that I have yet to lose my touch __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #website #artistic #launch #excited #smallbusiness #contemporaryceramics

last month

A long time ago, man created fire. Then man started accidentally burning their huts down. After they cleared the debris, people started noticing that some of the mud they had shaped into figurines had hardened. The materials and the firings were increasingly refined over eons until we ended up with wood burning kilns. That’s at least the story that I like to believe. I spent this past weekend firing our wood kiln alongside a great group of artists and friends. These kilns have been bringing people together for thousands of years and will continue to do so for thousands more. I have a lot of work in this kiln load, and assuming my pieces survive their trial by fire, I should have some great pieces come out after it cools. The entire process takes at least 10 days between the load, fire, cool down, and unload. It is a slow and methodical process to get wood ash to melt on clay but the results are well worth the wait __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #kiln #woodfired #pot #wood #calm #focus #concentration #woodfiredceramics #firing #fire #website #woodfiredpottery #woodfire #ancient #smallbusiness #contemporaryceramics

last month

The first pull on a mound of clay is one of my favorite movements that I perform when making a piece. The thickness of the walls makes the clay rather forgivable, to the point that I can essentially input as much force onto the clay as I can without it fighting back. The clay in this stage is usually also quite wide and close to the wheel-head, giving it excellent stability and making it unlikely to be thrown off center. This movement something of a combination between an upwards pull and an inwards cone. My outside hand applies most of the force, pushing inwards sharply as it moves up the piece while my inside hand pushes outward as it moves up (albeit, with considerably less force ). The result of this pushing and squeezing is the clay moving in towards the center of the wheel-head and up away from it. Visually, it resembles a decapitated cone or a volcano. The clay must always be angled inwards—particularly when throwing tall forms—because the farther clay rises from the wheel, the more it wants to move outward and be thrown off of center. I suspect the cause of this is an increase in torque that occurs when force is applied farther from the attachment point of the clay to the wheel. If there are any physicists in the audience, feel free to confirm or deny this. Subsequent upward pulls on this piece generally maintain this conical shape but as more clay from the bottom of the mound is used, the angle of the cone gradually decreases in sharpness and the form straightens. The mark of a competent potter is consistency in movement. Each movement performed, no matter how big or how small, has a beginning and end point and the path between these two points must be fluid and consistent __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing

last month

**🚨Major Announcements Below🚨** Hi everyone, I hope that some of you still read these captions I write! I am going to answer my most asked question: “Do I sell my work.” The answer is and always has been yes. However, I preferred to sell my pieces on a case by case basis, taking time to communicate with prospective buyers before completing a sale. After all, since my pieces are so personal to me, I felt that my sales should be personal as well My thinking has since changed. Both my supply and demand have far exceeded my capacity to continue doing sales the way I have been. Thus, I set out to create a platform where I would be able to maintain the personal feel with sales I was accustomed to that also reflected the level of care you all know that I put into my work. With the help of amazing web designer (shoutout @jpk_______ ), I think that I managed to accomplish just that! So without ado, I am very proud and excited to announce the launch of my new WEBSITE (link in bio )!!! I know that this may seem long overdo, but I decided to wait to do this until the time felt right. I am happy to say that time has come This community has given me so much and I want to give back to it. With that in mind, please use the code “insta20” upon checkout to receive 20% off on your ENTIRE purchase for the next week. You can consider this a dual Mother’s Day and Launch Week celebratory sale. The website is and you can find the link to it in my bio. I look forward to doing more sales and giveaways on this platform. Thank you all for sticking around so far on this journey!I’m looking forward to making some more great pots for you all 😊 __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #website #artistic #launch #excited #smallbusiness #contemporaryceramics

last month

The process of spiral wedging my clay is a rather meditative one. The motion of rhythmically turning and pushing down on the clay is a familiar one. I have performed this movement literally tens of thousands of times. The process of kneading is one I am so comfortable with that I rarely, if ever, even need to open my eyes. You will notice this if you look carefully once my head bobs down into frame. Spiral wedging wonderfully mixes and prepares large quantities of clay. It works best for quantities larger than six or seven pounds. I get to turn my brain off during my clay preparation, a rare luxury for me in the studio. I get to just zone out and really focus on my breath. If you’re listening carefully you will be able to hear this as well. Properly preparing clay is not negotiable. There are no middle grounds. Clay is either properly prepared or it is not and it is a mistake that I see being made time and time again. You can not compare the qualities and capabilities of clay that is properly prepared to clay which is not. The end result is a homogenous and roughly symmetrical mound of clay that is ready for the wheel __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing

last month

A freshly-trimmed, round vase drying in the studio. For the past several months I have been partial to high-grog clay bodies. Grog’s utility in making large forms is unquestionable but it has an added benefit in its texture. Grog are small particles of fired clay that are fed through a sieve to achieve a fairly consistent particle diameter. Grog is not readily observable to the casual viewer during the throwing stage, but upon trimming, it reveals itself. When a leather-hard piece is trimmed, the hard metal of the trimming tool catches pieces of grog as the wheel turns and lifts them to the surface. The more that the tool digs into the clay, the more grog is dragged across the surface of the piece. To some, this texture could be an annoyance, and I would be lying if did not mention how this irked me for a number of years. However, I have come to embrace it as an inescapable feature of stoneware clay and accentuate it as much as possible. On this vessel, I very deliberately trimmed the entirety of the exterior, picking up pieces of grog with my tool as I moved from foot to neck. The coarse texture on this piece has left it looking akin to a rather round stone that one may happen upon near a hiking trail or somewhere else in nature. Although not necessarily something I see myself doing with a great number of pieces, it was nevertheless an interesting and successful experiment __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade #pulling #stretching #potterylove #instapottery #stoneware #focus #focused #creative #craft #handmadepottery #wheelthrown #wheelthrownpottery

last month

It would appear that until fairly recently, I have neglected to include many videos of myself at work here. I have been trying to rectify this for several weeks and am very happy with the feedback I have been getting from you all. I have been getting lots of requests to see me working in real-time at the wheel, so I will start including some of these clips beginning with this one. This video demonstrates how I trim most of my forms. I place my pieces upside down inside of a chuck (the clay cylinder attached to the wheel ) to protect the neck and rim. Ideally you want the widest point of the vase to be making contact with the chuck but there is an acceptable range of stable attachment points. The chuck must be damp enough that it generates friction with the piece and keeps it in place but not so damp that it deposits its clay onto the surface of the piece you are trimming. This vase was made of a gorgeous red stoneware that had dried out and I needed to spend a week rehydrating. It is infinitely softer and finer than the clay I normally use and makes me feel like I’m on vacation when I work with it. The small particle size in the clay leads to some lovely, long trimming curls as I move up and down the piece with my tool. I always find watching trimming curls fall off the piece so satisfying! __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artistic #vase #stoneware #calm #trim #concentration #potterywheel #tool #oddlysatisfying #potteryvideos #trimming #wheelthrownpottery #makersmovement #instapottery #pottersofinstagram #satisying #relaxing

last month

Want to learn to be a pottery wizard like me?! I’m happy to announce that I am going to continue teaching this coming session at my wonderful ceramic studio. Our 8-week beginner classes, which run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, are both taught by me and begin on May 7th and 9th respectively. I teach my unique brand of throwing in these classes and build up a solid foundation for students who have not been privileged to work in clay before. For potters who have some experience and are interested as well, I work individually with each student to further their technique and aesthetic. I hope that some of you might be able to join me next session! You can find my studio’s website and more information in my bio __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing

last month

Caught myself in a rare moment of frustration in the studio yesterday. Failure is inevitable. We need recognize that and get over it. It would appear that I briefly forgot my own lesson

last month

The top sections of my pieces are always rather time consuming. The clay is tired—as am I—and neither are necessarily willing to make my final gestures look the way they should. I have a tendency to be rather finicky with the rims of my pots, taking great care to gently lead the curve of the body into a flare or however else I want to the top of the piece to end. The contours of my pieces force me to contort myself to actually be able to see what I am doing, which you can see in this shot. Part of the reason that I take such care with the rims is because they are just about the only thing on a pot that you cannot make any alterations to after the throwing stage. Due to the wall width and shape, most rims would not survive an assault from a trimming tool. Small gestures at this stage yield big repercussions. Nothing can be haphazardly done, everything must be intentional __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase

last month

I’m going to be honest about something, I am not sure how helpful these videos actually are to rising members of the ceramics community. Rather than being nurturing for a developing skill set, I feel like all too often potters may regress because they do not know what they are really seeing. I fall prey to this often, even watching myself work. Frequently I will observe one of my movements when editing these videos and think (for lack of a better phrase ): “how the fuck did I do that?” If I cannot recall the specific finger positions and points of force on one of my own pieces, I can hardly expect the same of any of you to. Oftentimes, my students approach me saying something akin to: “I saw such and such on so and so’s youtube but I’ve been sitting at the wheel for an hour and have no idea why it isn’t working.” Pottery in video form is rather deceptive. The artist’s hands may be gliding over a particular area but that in no way means that they are necessarily applying any substantial degree of force with that appendage During the course of a throw, a huge amount is being done with the inside hand, which can never be visible in videos these clips. In fact, my non-dominant (left ) inside hand undoubtable does far more work and has a far greater impact on the overall piece than my dominant (right ) outside hand. Ceramics has made me beyond ambidextrous. In fact, I have far more dexterity, strength, and range of motion in my non-dominant side than most people do in their dominant. This is due, in large part, to my eastern influences I got a little off topic but my point is this: please do not read too much into these videos. They do not provide much useful information from a practical standpoint and can be to the detriment of your practices on the wheel. I have an extremely specific and personally tailored throwing style that you will not decipher by watching these videos. If you are actually interested in learning the way that I throw, I encourage you to take one of my workshops. In these classes, I preach what I practice. Please take these videos for what they are…an enjoyable and relaxing film of some beautiful art being made. I hope you all enjoy this one!

last month

A medium-sized stoneware vase that I made recently, drying out on a plaster disk. Regardless of the method that I throw my pieces, I prefer to dry them on this surface, as it sucks moisture out from the bottom of the vessel where the walls are the thickest. The walls are noticeably thinner towards the top of the vessel—an unavoidable condition of throwing large forms—so if the piece were left to dry its own, the top would crisp up far more quickly than the bottom. If allowed to occur, this can offset the proportions of the form rather drastically from the original piece. At the very least the change would seem drastic to me, but I also have a really good eye for that sort of thing. In addition to the plaster drying surfaces (I may also use wood on occasion ), I have somewhat recently begun the practice of delicately wrapping my pieces in thin plastic sheeting. I only do this once the piece has dried enough such that plastic does not stick to the body of the piece. The plastic wrapping insulates the piece and forces some of the evaporated water from the thicker walls towards the base to be reabsorbed by the dryer areas towards the rim. The result is an evenly-dried vessel that maintains its proportions throughout the drying and firing process. I frequently will wrap the pieces once more after trimming to further slow their drying. I will not rush pieces anymore and both my works and myself are better off for it __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramicsculpture #ceramica #ceramicart #artistic #vase #clayart #even #symmetry #symmetrical #made #balanced #potteryart #pottery_lovers #creative #creativity #crafts #craftsman #wheel #craftsmanship

last month

A large bottle that I threw the other day with about 15 pounds of an iron-rich stoneware clay body. You may notice the subtle rings that climb from the bottom of this vessel towards the neck. These rings are called throwing lines and are caused by my hands stretching the clay up and out throughout the course of a throw. These did not exist on my pieces as recently as even a few months ago. I used to rely heavily on ribs for shaping, which do not permit the existence of these lines, particularly on pieces at the scale that mine exist at. A little while back, I made the decision to transition towards using my hands over my tools. It is a decision I will make again if given the opportunity. These lines are the memory of my fingertips on the clay and are quite lovely on finished vessels as they create areas for glaze to pool upon firing __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade #pulling #stretching #potterylove #instapottery #stoneware #focus #focused #creative #craft #handmadepottery #wheelthrown #wheelthrownpottery

April 2019

Reassembling a large vase on the wheel. It takes a lot of practice to master this skill __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing

April 2019

I often feel that because I make such heavy and imposing vessels, people often think that I lack finesse when making my forms. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is with this skill above all others that I truly excel Finesse is essential when performing small or delicate movements. In ceramics, it often means taking an exceedingly gentle approach with to the clay, touching the clay so subtly that the memory of your fingertips on the piece is hardly visible at all This skill comes into play when removing vessels from the wheel, which I am pictured doing here. After throwing a piece directly on the wheel head rather than a bat, it must be removed with great care. After removing any excess clay from the bottom of the vessel and running a wire under the freshly-thrown piece, a delicate touch is all that is needed to lift the soft clay off of the wheel. This motion must be done without any error, as the clay is highly susceptible to deformation at this stage of the process. The slightest incorrect press of the fingertips would leave a permanent indentation in the clay. I am even more deliberate than usual when performing this motion, meticulously spreading the force of my fingertips across the surface of the clay to keep the trauma of the movement to a minimum You may be reading this and wondering why I made this piece right on the wheel rather than a bat (a device that creates a barrier between the wheel and the clay ) when I have to go to do much effort to remove the piece by hand. The answer is simple: there is no better way to throw than directly on the wheel head. This is true for several reasons, first and foremost being that the wheel is designed for clay to stick to it. Placing clay on the wheel head creates a strong seal and ensures that none of your efforts are wasted. The second reason lies in the fundamental failure of bats. Once you reach a certain skill level and clay quantity, they simply do not work anymore. No bat can create a tight enough seal around the bat pins such that your energy will be efficiently transferred to the clay. Anyways I hit the character limit so I’ll give more reasons next time around. Thanks for reading!

April 2019

My latest form, thrown with the same dark brown clay body that I have been using for several months. I have customized this clay to achieve a high degree of plasticity and strength. It features a significant amount of rather coarse grog, allowing the clay to fight back a bit against my movements. I find that this creates a more active and mutual dialogue between myself and the medium. Having a clay body with some bite to it also strengthens one’s hands and makes throwing softer clays feel like a vacation This pot sits surrounded by a studio full of empty wheels. It is under these conditions that I make most of my pieces. I never noticed this until a number of you pointed it out recently. I frequently find myself alone at the studio, long after my peers have found their way out the door. I like working alone and always have, regardless of what I am doing. As a general rule, I find that the more people become involved in a project, the less work gets done. Reducing distractions allows me to be a bit more mindful and stay in the present. Too often is the mind drawn away from what we are presently doing, either reminiscing or regretting the past or anticipating or fearing the future. Good art necessitates presence in the present I feel as though each piece I have been making lately represents a culmination of the entirety of my studies at the wheel. It has been months since I have made something I disliked even slightly. Very few things equal the feeling of hitting a stride with my work __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade #pulling #stretching #potterylove #instapottery #stoneware #focus #focused #creative #craft #handmadepottery #wheelthrown #wheelthrownpottery

April 2019

“Bracing” is one of the most important and most overlooked aspects of ceramics. In truth, our fingers are simply too fragile and susceptible to degradation over time to function long term without this feature of throwing Bracing in ceramics involves the diffusion of force across multiple weaker joints or a transference to a stronger area of the body. When throwing wet clay, this frequently involves locking the arms and wrist, allowing the shoulder and trunk to bear the force that the the fingers and wrist could not. When trimming leather-hard clay, bracing usually means connecting different joints to create a looped circuit of force dispersal, such as can be seen in this clip Bracing does not only involve one’s own body, though. Potters must also brace against the piece they are working on as well to achieve maximum leverage You may notice in this shot how my left fingertips begin pressing gently down on the top of this vessel until my right hand goes far enough down the cup for my left thumb to continue its connection with the tool. At this point, the fingertips of my left hand fall down onto the body of the piece while continuing to maintain pressure and leverage. This movement, although apparently simple, takes thousands of hours of practice to perform as elegantly as this. Subtle motions like these are what define a Potter’s individual style __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #artistic #clay #craft #artist #pot #artstudio #handmadeceramics #handmade #potterystudio #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #handmadepottery #wheelthrownpottery #maker #creative #pottersofinstagram #makersmovement #creativity

April 2019

I decided to throw together a clip on a process that I have neglected to write about for some time: trimming. “Trimming” (or “turning,” as my contemporaries in the east say ) a pot is the process of using a sharp tool to carve away excess clay on a vessel When throwing a pot on the wheel, the clay towards the base of the piece must thicker than the top sections in order to support the weight of the vessel and any curves that it may feature. However, after a short while drying, the pot reaches a point of hardness where it no longer needs that extra support to keep itself from collapsing and that excess clay can be removed. The result is a well-balanced piece with walls of even relatively even thickness throughout. The time that it takes for a pot to reach this stage of dryness, known to the ceramics community as “leather hard” varies greatly based on many factors including temperature, humidity, clay body, trimming tool, and personal preference among others. Leather hard is a range of acceptable levels of dryness rather than any one particular point in the drying cycle. When it comes to trimming tool choice, it is just that: a choice. Everyone has a preference and the only way to find that preference is through testing different tools and methods of trimming. Trimming tools range in shape from circular to straight and can be made from stainless steel, bamboo, and rubber among other materials. The tool featured in this clip, my undeniable favorite of the last eight months or so, is made with tungsten carbide. It is extremely strong, sharp, and durable, holding its edge like no other tool I have found myself in possession of. I still manage to slice my finger open with it every few weeks. It even manages to hold up to the gritty clay I have been using lately I encourage you to turn the sound up on this clip and really listen to what is happening. Without the visuals, this is not unlike a soundscape for a ceramics studio. When I approached making this clip, I had the intention making as accurate a representation of my workspace as possible. With that in mind, I decided to zen this out a bit, focusing on individual movements to show a more complete process. Enjoy!

April 2019

Returning to the studio after a lengthy absence has a way of making me look at my works in a different light. I suppose that a bit of distance has a way of lending some fresh perspective. I find myself analyzing the contours and proportions of my vessels from a slightly more objective viewpoint, as if time away from my creations loosened my emotional attachment to them. The last few months brought with them a number of of exciting new ideas and I look forward to exploring them further in the next few. Hopefully more new ideas will wait their turn as I complete some old projects. I find myself becoming more and more comfortable allowing the clay to express itself, forgoing my heavy-handed approach that I used to take with my clay. This can be viewed on the bottom few inches of the vessel pictured here, where I have allowed coarse grog to rise to the surface of the vessel during trimming. Currently, I am diverging slightly from my focus of the last few years and experimenting with some long awaited tableware as well as putting the finishing touches on an even more long awaited website __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade #pulling #stretching #potterylove #instapottery #stoneware #focus #focused

March 2019

Here is another clip displaying how I throw my large vases You may notice that I use a different technique than I have shown previously to open up the walls of this vessel, beginning from from a position of height rather than a position of width. This method is, as my old teacher used to refer to it, “Korea style.” Ceramics in Korea is built from a foundation of throwing off the hump and this extends to throwing exceedingly large forms The difficulties that arise when throwing with this style are numerous, flowing predominantly from the massive increase in torque that occurs as your hands move further up from the wheel. The narrow base removes any semblance of stability that the piece may have so they need to be thrown without error. The problem of sinking a hole that is over a foot tall presents its own set of problems The benefits of this challenging method of throwing, as far as I’m concerned, outweigh the difficulties. Beginning a piece from a position of height eliminates the need to spend excessive time and water pulling up the walls. This allows ceramicists to make pieces far faster with daringly thin walls. It takes a good amount of practice to do successfully and works better if your dominant hand is the one inside of the piece but I strongly encourage my fellow potters out there to try this method. Hope you all enjoy the video and the tunes by @djquads On another note, a number of you have remarked that I have been including a watermark on my videos lately. That is because I am frankly sick and tired of the rampant theft of my intellectual property that occurs on a daily basis on this platform. This is a rant for another time. For now, enjoy __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing

March 2019

I have found myself being rather uncharacteristically unproductive in the studio for the last few weeks. I have been admittedly distracted with a massive wave of schoolwork among other things that have impeded my ability to make pieces. It is simply hard to find the time Time is such a precious resource. As far as I am concerned, it is really the only resource that matters. Everything that I, or you, decide to do in a day or a life necessitates a transaction, the currency for which is time. There is so much to do and only so many hours. It takes time to go to classes, it takes time to study, it takes time to keep myself healthy, it takes time make pots, teach my classes, write these posts, move between locations, eat, sleep ( etc, you get the picture ) I am forced to be extremely efficient with my time to compensate for the fact that I often spend upwards of 40 hours a week in the studio. Trying to make the most of one’s time and constantly moving quickly from one thing to the next is frankly exhausting. I am not allowed much in terms of downtime. I try to construct and control a balanced system that incorporates the essentials, which tends to work for a time, but boasts a propensity for failure. There are simply too many factors, many of which are unknown, that I cannot account for ahead of time which cause this system to breakdown Thankfully, I am blessed with a unique ability: I require very little sleep. This has been the case as far back as I can remember and allows me to simultaneously be a night-owl and an early bird. I tend to be awake and work at rather queer hours, during which I am lucky enough to be alone in the spaces I inhabit, both in the immediate vicinity and at large. It is during these moments of solitude that I am most productive. It is only when I start mildly hallucinating that I know it is time to get to bed. Everyone’s mind plays tricks on them in the dark Anyways, I guess I should probably talk about the piece in this image. I return to this form every so often, but more specifically when I step aware from the wheel for a time. I made hundreds of these “teardrops” in my early years. It is a perfectly simple large form

February 2019

This image captures the process by which I collar my pieces. Collaring refers to the inwards compression of the walls of a ceramic vessel The basic premise behind this movement is that the walls are squeezed inwards. This motions has three effects: the diameter of the cylinder shrinks, the thickness of the walls increases, and the cylinder grows in height. Collaring serves the purpose of strengthening the walls during the section on which the motion was done When I collar, I have 6 points of contact on the clay: the interior of my thumbs, the lowest knuckle on my index fingers, and the interior of my index fingers. These points apply even pressure on the clay as I move them upward, forcing the clay in towards the center of the wheel This motion is one that I use on all of my piece, particularly ones that have wide bellies that transition into thin necks. I need to have a lot of forethought when making pieces like this, as the diameter of the opening of my clay quickly becomes narrow to the point that my full hand will no longer fit inside. Thus, I need to complete the curve progressively as the opening becomes narrower I quite like this shot, as you can see the inside of my piece. This is a perspective that is usually hidden due to the thin necks of my pieces. The insides of my pots are shrouded in darkness, and with them, so too are my throwing lines. My “throwing lines” are the nearly-concentric rings you can see inside of this vessel. They were caused by the outward force of my fingertips on the inside of the walls as I raise and shape the clay You may notice that the top inch or two of the interior walls lack these throwing lines. That is due to the fastidious rim compression that I perform throughout the course of a throw to protect the clay around the rim __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade #pulling #stretching #potterylove #instapottery #stoneware #focus #focused

February 2019

A large vase thrown with about 14 pounds of clay, made directly on the wheel head For larger pieces such as this, I have transitioned away from using throwing bats, opting instead to throw directly on the wheel. Bats are an introduced throwing surface made of plastic, wood, or plaster which are placed on top of the wheel head and allow a piece to be removed without distortion. However, plastic and wooden bats have an unwritten weight limit and become useless for my purposes long ago. I have transitioned away from plaster bats as well, as they are heavy and come with their own set of problems After throwing these pieces, I allow them to briefly stiffen up between throws before gently removing them from the wheel head with my finger tips and putting them on a new surface on which to dry Vessels such as these, with wide bellies and thin necks, are the most difficult shape for potters to throw. It is difficult to put into words just how must the clay does not want to do what I am making it do in this clip. These shapes present a myriad of issues and must be diligently cared for throughout the course of a throw to ensure their success These forms also happen to be those which I find most beautiful. This has always been the case, well before I was capable of making such shapes myself. I have been rather curious if my perception of beauty flows from sheer technical complexity. If true, this would definitely fall in line with propensity for making things difficult on myself It was clear that everyone enjoyed last week’s video so I am going to make these a regular thing. Hope you all enjoy this clip as well as the tunes by @djquads ___________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing #oddlysatisfying #satisfaction

February 2019

The process of raising clay up from the wheel is referred to by the ceramics community as “pulling.” This name is unfortunately rather deceptive and misled me for several years Throughout my studies, my understanding of this motion has transitioned to a stretching movement rather than a pulling one. During the throwing process, one’s hands begin at different distances in height from the wheel head due to the clay in the base of a piece. The stretching movement to bring the clay upwards capitalizes on this phenomenon and accentuates it When I raise the walls of my pieces, I intentionally increase the distance between my inside and outside hand, creating the “bump” that you can see in this shot. My inside hand pushes the clay outward about an inch above my outside hand, which gently encourages the clay back into place. My inside hand dramatically thins out the walls and my outside hand maintains the integrity of the cylinder Efficiency on the wheel is everything. Clay needs to thrown effortlessly, evenly, and (perhaps most importantly ) quickly. I structure my movements around these tenants, one of which is the stretching motion that I have described above. The longer that clay is worked, the more water infects the bonding points between the molecules and the less it is willing to give its maker ____________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade #pulling #stretching #potterylove #instapottery #stoneware #focus #focused

February 2019

Part of being an artist that physically works on a medium means taking certain precautions to ensure that my body remains healthy. I throw hundreds of pounds of clay during any given week, often in extremely awkward positions, and in a way that potentially poses a huge risk to the joints and muscles all over my body My wrists and fingers are at a particularly high level of risk, as they are involved in every single motion that I do with clay, both on and off the wheel. The use of my hands go well beyond wedging and throwing, extending itself moving pieces and supplies around the studio. I often have to position myself rather awkwardly to ensure the safety of my vessels that I transport between shelves or to and from the wheel These are things that I never considered for the first few years of my ceramic studies that I wish I had. Ceramicists tend to have huge health problems later in life from eye damage due to light emissions during kiln firings, to wrist and hand arthritis from improper throwing technique, to back problems due to uncorrected poor posture at the wheel. Repetitive motions breed health problems and if the avoidable motions are not avoided and the unavoidable motions are not corrected on the backend of the activity, these problems will arise I structure my own throwing technique as well as that of my wonderful students around these concerns. It is possible to maintain efficiency on the wheel while still protecting one’s physical health. A huge aspect of this is bracing. Bracing, in this contest, means using different body parts in unison to evenly distribute the force of one’s motions on the wheel. You can clearly see this technique in practice in this shot where my thumbs are braced against one another as I sink the hole of this mound of clay. This may seem subtle, but in the longterm, it causes a world of difference _______________________________________ #working #handmade #potterystudio #clay #stoneware #make #makers #makersgottamake #makersmovement #fingers #centered #potterylove #pottersofinstagram #instapottery #potterywheel

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