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Wheel throwing with standard clay. Again, a kiln is required. And once you are an experienced thrower you will undoubtedly want a large kiln, since you will produce pieces much more quickly than in hand-building. However, at the beginning I would recommend joining a class if at all possible. You can learn to throw from books or even better, videotapes, and some people do. But it is difficult. It takes a while to get the knack for throwing, and can therefore get frustrating unless you have interaction with an instructor and see other students struggling as you are. I think most people with no experience, buying a wheel and trying it out on their own, would get frustrated and give up. A class will offer you instruction, a kiln, and glazes so you don't have to worry about that quite yet. Your only investment will be the cost of the class, and perhaps some materials costs such as clay and a basic tool set for under $20. At some point you may find that you don't like to be constrained by the hours of the class, that you want complete control over your work (so someone else doesn't smudge the glaze, break, damage or steal your pieces), or that you want to do things beyond the capability of our class studio. At this point I would recommend getting your own wheel, and kiln unless you have access to someone else's kiln. However, if you are patient, you could continue to build your throwing skills, never firing anything but instead recycling the clay to be thrown again. It is tempting to want to finish each piece at the beginning, because you are very proud of it, but soon you will hate the look of those early pieces! so not even firing them at all would be a fine strategy. While you are in the intermediate stage, assuming you are firing your work, I would recommend an extruder. The reason is that you can make use of the hundreds of small cylinders you will throw, by putting nice handles on them and making mugs. Otherwise practice making hand pulled handles (shown in most pottery technique books.)
|Sheri Ann Richerson|