Wedging: it’s not about air bubbles!

Wedging. Who writes about wedging?

Isn’t it to get the air bubbles out? (NO!) And wedging is one of those zen practices that supposedly take 3 years to learn to do right?

Or, is it, in my experience, to get an internal coil going in your clay so that when you are throwing and you start to center on the wheel, your clay doesn’t fight you and centers up easily?

Why we wedge is something many potters know or have known throughout time but is still something I think should be discussed again; especially for art educators out there.

For years and years

9 Replies to “Wedging: it’s not about air bubbles!”

  1. Thank you so much for this. I have been wedging backwards too. Can’t wait to flip it over.

  2. Hi,
    I read your article about wedging and notice that you left out one step compared to how I was taught.
    The pointy end is down and you slap down the sides of the clay all around so that any creases on top get opened out. When you are finished the bottom is now the wider end and the clay spiral is the right way.Not easy to explain so I hope that’s clear.

  3. OMG, why didn’t I ever think of that, too?! Glad I learned this while I’m still new at it! Thank you so much for all your informative posts, they are helping me immensely! And I read and read but yours’ always hit home with nuggets of gold!

  4. I worked most often with Soldner mixer stoneware, and preferred the open body that was more responsive to a lively quality in the clay. As for porcelain, I preferred pugged clay as the body was more dense. I could never throw with Soldner mixers batch of porcelain.
    I thought the two clay mixing process to be dramatically different, creating an open body versus a dense, tight body.
    I appreciated your discussion on wedging and the direction of the spiral in helping the thrown form.

  5. Hello Glenys,
    I recently ask myself the same question as your post. Spiral wedging the Japanese way is for clockwise turning wheel. And i arrive to the conclusion that the important part in pottery is the inside of pot. Running clockwise your right hand which is the master hand is the one who acts as a mould. The left-hand compresses Only. It is like drawing for right-handed people….
    Let me know what you think. Regards Gonzalo

  6. Nicely said Gonzalo and a good addition to what I was saying- As he said folks, just remember that American wheels run counter clockwise so much of the instructions need to be reversed!

  7. Karen, I agree, although I found it easier to throw tall things with the “airy” soldner-mixed porcelain. Thanks for this perceptive comment.

  8. You are so wonderful for sharing this and a light bulb has gone off in my head! Also clay out of the bag is much better not wedged. Thank you for explaining the correct direction if wedging for throwing.

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