The history of the wheel dates back to around 3500BC. This operated on the flywheel principle and utilised energy stored in the rotating mass of the heavy stone wheel itself to speed the process. The fast wheel enabled a new process of pottery-making to develop, called throwing, in which a lump of clay was placed centrally on the wheel and then squeezed, lifted and shaped as the wheel turned.
Today we are lucky to have electrically operated wheels but some potters still enjoy using what is know as a kick wheel, using the power of their legs to keep the wheel turning. More modern wheels also catering for the left handed among us.
Using a wheel enables the potter to more quickly produce even shaped bowls, cylinders and plates. These can later be shaped further when at the leather hard stage.
I currently have two wheels, one mainly for throwing and the other for trimming and finishing off items I have made. At the moment the majority of my work is undertaken on the wheel.
“ We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want” – Laozi