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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Creating a double walled wheel thrown vessel

Creating a double walled wheel thrown vessel
*to fully understand this process, one must know the basics in throwing on the wheel.

This image shows some of the different stages of creating a double walled vessel.

To create a double walled vessel I first make a ball with a wedged piece of clay and centre it on the wheel, leaving a flattened top. With a scoring tool or my finger I draw a circle on the top, dividing the piece into two. 

I then push down the outside circle to create an upside down mushroom. I use the inner piece of raised clay to create the inside vessel, starting with a simple cylinder. The inside cylinder is refined and worked on until the walls have been thinned out to the desired width.
The next stage involves using the outside circle of clay to create a second (larger-surrounding) vessel. To do this you need to use your fingers to create an  indentation around the outer base of the inside vessel, making sure you do not press all the way down to the wheel head (leave clay an inch or so thick at base). The walls of the clay can then be pulled up to thin them out. The walls or sides of the vessel must be pulled straight up, not on an angle; otherwise they will become weak and loose their shape and structure. Only once you have thinned out the walls of the outside vessel can you shape it more. To make it curve around the inside vessel start at the bottom with fingers on each side of the walls and push clay gently outwards to give it a belly. The top rim can be curved inwards by cupping the vessel near the top and pushing inwards.

Your basic shape is complete and you can now spend time shaping both of your inner and outer vessels. A heat gun can be used to slightly dry the vessels throughout, so that the clay keeps its strength and the walls don’t go floppy or loose their shape.

Once you have achieved your desired shape, cut it off the wheel and set it to dry. At this point you can also use your hands or sponged to alter the shape of you double walled vessel, giving it movement and a less traditional form.

Once the piece is leather hard it can be trimmed. I generally also carve my works at this point, changing the shape of the rim and also carving away sections of the outside vessel, giving it texture and a more sculpted look.