Friday, June 26, 2009

The Wheel

Yesterday, at one of my many jobs, a co-worker told me that she had a surprise for me in her car. A few hours later we went out to her car and a Brent Potter's Wheel was waiting inside! She used to do recreational pottery and the wheel had been in storage for 15 years so she kindly passed it on to me... I couldn't believe it!

The wheel is the tool a potter uses to spin or turn the clay and form it. Wheels can spin either direction and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from kick wheels to these motorized ones. And just like cars, wheel motors make a big difference in what the machine can handle. You woulnd't try to pull a stump out with a Mini Cooper and a potter wouldn't try to throw 50 lbs of clay on a lower model wheel.

I will have to take it apart and check out the motor but I'm looking forward to having two wheels for a little while. I may eventually sell my Shimpo (another brand of pottery wheels) because the foot pedal is a little bit of a pain. As you can see in the pictures, the Brent Wheel (top left) has a foot pedal that you can move into a comfortable position as you throw. The Shimpo's pedal is attached right to the side with a metal stick jutting up which is supposed to be for adjusting the speed with your hands. I detached the metal stick on my Shimpo to get it out of my way but still get a little frustrated with the pedal itself.

Why would I want two wheels at a time? Well, if I throw a large pot or a pot that requires a second step (meaning that I need to let it stiffen up just a little bit), it would be convenient to be able to leave it on the wheel and come back to it rather than moving it to a shelf and back again, allowing for any number of "whoops!" moments. Its a young potter's luxury...

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