The inside IS the outside

Very excited about this yunomi! I threw it on the kickwheel and I always throw a bit thick which is just natural for me. In throwing and trimming it forces you think about how the inside of the vessel is formed and how it will affect the balance and the overall shape. 

This leads to an insight which is best explained by the Tao Te Ching – 

Use What Does Not Exist

Thirty spokes are united around the hub of a wheel, but the usefulness of the wheel depends on the space where nothing exists.

Clay is molded into a vessel, but the usefulness of the vessel depends on the space where nothing exists.

Doors and windows are cut out of the walls of a house, and the usefulness of the house depends on the space where nothing exists.

Therefore take advantage of what exists, and use what does not exist.

Wheelheads and Trimming

Being a kickwheel kind of guy. I recently wondered if having a perfectly level wheelhead was a necessity when throwing as I’ve been having some trouble keeping my rims even and level.

trimming 20140505


I spent some good time throwing yesterday and creating a few new forms. Today when trimming I noticed that my feet were higher on one side of the pot and lower on the other. I was able to compensate for this by wedging the clay up under the rim of the pot by an 8th of an inch or so still keeping center and it cured it partially for that pot.

grenware 20140505.

I then put a level on the wheelhead measuring the level from front to back. Perfect. From left to right though we had a bit of a problem. Luckily on most ceramics wheels thee feet are of a screw type so that you can adjust up and down to compensate for level. Like if your garage has a bit of a slope like mine does.


So if you throw a pot and it has a “wonk” to it, when you flip it upside down to trim the foot you’ll see the problem where you are cutting unevenly. This is what you want it to look like front to back and left to right. Sometimes you might find that the axle has a wobble to it and the level might change as you turn the wheel. I don’t have this problem. Hopefully never will, but some folks say that a competent potter can work around that hurdle.


I’d say if you had a wobble in the axle or if the wheelhead was just really warped you should take it to a machine shop and have them resurface it and depending on what type of wheel you had they might even be able to straighten or create a new axle for you. Hope this helps as I spent a good bit of time wondering about this and finally solved it. It should make things a bit less frustrating.