MR 0275 Teen artist Charlotte Pekelsma works with clay on the potter's wheel in Capitan, New Mexico.

- Image ID: AY4CY1
MR 0275 Teen artist Charlotte Pekelsma works with clay on the potter's wheel in Capitan, New Mexico.
M L Pearson / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: AY4CY1
The potter's wheel. In a process called "throwing" (coming from the Old English word thrawan, which means to twist or turn), a ball of clay is placed in the center of a turntable, called the wheel-head, which the potter rotates with a stick, with foot power or with a variable speed electric motor. During the process of throwing the wheel rotates rapidly while the solid ball of soft clay is pressed, squeezed and pulled gently upwards and outwards into a hollow shape. The first step of pressing the rough ball of clay downward and inward into perfect rotational symmetry, is called centering the clay, a most important skill to master before the next steps: opening (making a centered hollow into the solid ball of clay), flooring (making the flat or rounded bottom inside the pot), throwing or pulling (drawing up and shaping the walls to an even thickness), and trimming or turning (removing excess clay to refine the shape or to create a foot).
Location: Capitan, New Mexico, USA, United States, America