There is no magic bullet

Before I get into the hard and fast techniques of pottery, there will be a series of posts dealing with what I would call “the mental game” of pottery. Think of them as a preface. They can help you become a better potter just as much as technique can.

It would  go without out saying, one would think, that the only way to become a better potter is to actually make pots.

Again, it seems obvious but you’d be surprised at how many don’t want to put the practice in or are impatient with their level of progress. Perhaps a little perspective would help.

Let’s say you start taking pottery lessons at a studio. You come to class for 3 weeks in a row, spend your 2 hours in your class then clean up and go home. Now I ask you, have you been throwing for 3 weeks or 6 hours?

If you say or even thought 3 weeks, well you’re just fucking wrong.

You actually haven’t even been throwing for 6 hours. Chances are when you get in, you chat, then you set up at the wheel. Then you start wedging out clay and finally you start to throw. So chances are that ate up 30 to 45 minutes right there. Now if you’re lucky, you can clean up during open studio time, but if there isn’t open studio time after your class…Well you probably have to clean up somewhere between 30 to 20 minutes before the end of class.

So lets be conservative and say you lost an hour between setup and clean up.

Which brings you down to 3 hours of throwing time (we won’t even count if you’ve spent time chatting with other students).

Now when you look at it like that, should you really be surprised that you’re not knocking out bowls and cups when you’ve only been throwing for 3 hours, 4 if we want to be generous.


There is no magic bullet. If you want to improve your pottery skills you have to put in the time. Its about the hours you put in, not the “days” “weeks or “months.” So have a little more patience with yourself, look at your schedule and see if there are any other times you can come in and work on your throwing. Most likely your studio has “open studio time” hours, it would behoove you to take advantage of them and in doing so you will quickly become the envy of your fellow students.

Now…stop reading and go throw.

Questions on the technique, email me at, like what I’m doing feel free to shop my Etsy store

2 Responses to “There is no magic bullet”
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  1. […] before we get into it, I recommend you go back and read my other posts, if you aren’t already following this blog. The reason being, is that I discuss fundamental […]


  2. […] If you have just begun reading the blog, feel free to go back to my later posts on bowl making, unfucking bowl problems, general wheel throwing techniques and the mental game of pottery. […]


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