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What is the meaning of the art term Pottery Wheel?

A pottery wheel is a rotating device used by potters to create ceramic objects. It consists of a horizontal disk that spins on a vertical axis, allowing the potter to shape clay into various forms. The potter sits at the wheel, using their hands and various tools to manipulate the clay as it spins.

The speed of the wheel can be adjusted to control the shaping process. Pottery wheels can be manually operated, with the potter using their foot to turn the wheel, or electrically powered for easier use. They are an essential tool in pottery making and allow for the creation of symmetrical and well-formed pottery pieces.
The pottery wheel is a tool used in the art of ceramics to shape and mold clay into various forms, primarily pottery vessels such as bowls, cups, and vases. It consists of a rotating platform or turntable, which is typically made of metal or wood, mounted horizontally on a sturdy stand.

The potter sits in front of the wheel and operates it with their hands and feet to control the rotation speed. The wheel can be turned on manually, electrically, or even foot-powered, depending on the type of pottery wheel being used. The potter uses their hands to shape and manipulate the clay while it spins, creating symmetrical and well-balanced forms.

The wheelhead, located at the top of the turntable, is where the clay is placed during the throwing process. Before starting, the potter prepares the clay by kneading it to remove any air bubbles and make it pliable. They then center the clay on the wheelhead by pressing it firmly onto the surface and using their hands to manipulate it into a symmetrical shape.

Once the clay is centered, the potter moistens their hands and dips them in water to prevent the clay from sticking to them. Using their dominant hand, they apply pressure to the center of the clay, creating a cavity known as the opening. From there, the potter uses a series of pulling, pushing, and shaping techniques to gradually expand the opening and raise the walls of the vessel.

Throughout the process, the potter constantly adjusts their hand position, pressure, and speed of the wheel to maintain control over the clay. They may use various shaping tools, such as a rib or sponge, to refine the form and smooth the surface of the vessel.

Once the desired shape is achieved, the potter removes the vessel from the wheelhead using a wire tool or cutting wire. This process is called cutting off. The vessel is then set aside to dry, known as the drying stage.

After drying, the vessel is usually trimmed or carved to refine its shape and add decorative details. It then undergoes the firing process, either in a kiln or through alternative firing techniques, to harden the clay and transform it into a durable, finished ceramic piece.

The pottery wheel is a vital tool for potters, enabling them to create a wide range of intricate and functional ceramic objects. It requires skill, precision, and a deep understanding of clay properties and manipulation techniques. From ancient civilizations to modern art studios, the pottery wheel has remained a fundamental tool in the art of pottery.
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