Different kinds of bowls and how to f$%king make them

Obviously we don’t live in a one size fits all bowls kind of world. So today I’m going to give you guidelines on how much clay to use to make a bowl within given dimensions. I am also going to go over how to throw a V shaped serving bowl.

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.

Different Kinds of Bowls

As stated in a previous blog there are 2 kinds of bowls, U and V shaped. Here is a list of the dimensions, amounts of clay and uses of bowls. It should help get you started or I hope inspire you further:

1/2lb bowl: sizes vary depending on what you want to make, which can be: egg cups, ketchup cups, dipping/sauce cups etc


1lb bowls: 5.5″w x 2.5″h can be used for candy, desert, ice cream, cereal for small children, tea, etc


2lb U shaped bowl: 6.5-7″w x 3″h good for both soup, cereal and general eating needs


2lb V shape bowl: 9″w x 2.5″h excellent shape for pasta. Apologies I don’t have an example right now, check back at a later date.

4lb U shaped bowl: 9″w rim x 3.25″h great for big salads or serving appetizers/ sides


5 to 6 lb V shape bowl: 10″w x 4.5″h meant for serving food or using as a centerpiece

Remember these are just some basic guidelines on how much to use and what sizes can be achieved. Take it as a way to get started and then create from there. Play with shapes, width, rim flare and everything until you create the bowl that you want!

Ok so now I’ll get into instructions on how to throw a V shaped serving bowl. In the videos below (shot at Island Pottery Studio) I’m throwing 5lbs of clay. As always if you are left handed, please reverse everything you see.

I of course start by centering and then opening, however unlike last weeks post on U shaped bows, I’m not going to open wider. Since it’s V shaped you should think somewhere between bowl and cylinder. So I start by throwing more of a cylinder shape in the first 2 pulls and then begin angling outward on the rest of the pulls. You’ll see what I mean better in the video below.

To pull the angle, I just move my hands diagonally on a slow and easy gradient. Patience is the name of the game here. Trying to get the angle to quickly is a guaranteed way to fuck up, fast. Slow and steady is what you want.

Now remember, I’m suing 5lbs of clay in this video, but you don’t need too. This process will work on a smaller scale of 1 or 1.5lbs of clay as well. 2017-12-4--23-53-49

The key to creating a good V shaped bowl is the use of ribs. I alternate between my wood rib and my rubber ribs. When using my wood rib, I have a sponge in my left and I push into the rib. You’re going to scrape away a lot of clay here and that’s ok. For the inside of the bowl, I use both my red rib as well as a yellow rib, which is a little harder. The wood rib is only for the outside and to define the angle. The rubber ribs are for the inside to get it to match the outer angle as closely as possible.


Whenever using a rib on the inside of the bowl, you’ll see I’m always supporting the outside wall with a sponge in my right hand. I like to use a mud sponge, but whatever sponge you’ve gotten should work.


Once you’ve got the angle you like with a nice clean line, its time to stop. As always, don’t play with it, don’t try and do one more thing. Just stop! Trim the base, cut the bottom with a wire tool and call it a win and go home. Because of the size, I recommend keeping the bowl on the bat for as long as possible.

And there you have it. A beautiful V shaped bowl. It can be used both functionally or if you choose to carve it, decoratively.

But that is a subject for another time. Next week, we’ll go over trimming your bowls.

Till then, get to the studio and make something!

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

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