hand positions on the potter's wheel

Now that you have strengthened your muscles as described in part one, you are ready to start playing with clay, yes I said – playing- you are not trying to make anything;

This is an easy and fun exercise.

You will need your first set o tools and materials.

If you don’t have a potter’s wheel or clay, you can lend me some support by clicking on the amazon banner or images below to purchase your supplies from AMAZON -a potter’s wheel, a couple boxes of moist de-aired clay, Preferably white,a tool kit and at least 2 bats; also seen when you click on the images.
The table top wheel below is the most affordable i can find for starters, but if you prefer a more sturdy stand alone wheel, the one in the right side Amazon banner is the one to purchase.

Take a ball of clay that is comfortable for the size of your hands, slightly dampen the wheel head, not too much water or the clay will go flying all over the place.

Tap the moist clay into a round ball and slap it down as close to the center of the wheel head as possible; make sure it’s sitting firmly and there is no water to make it slide.

Now forget everything you have heard before about pottery, especially the language. I will explain at a later date.

Have a container of water sitting next to you, select a speed on the wheel, not too fast or not too slow, too fast will be difficult to manage and too slow will cause the clay to drag in your hands or be just as difficult.

Dip both hands in the water; give them a generous soaking,
With the wheel spinning at the selected speed rest both hands firmly on the wheel head and around the clay and hold steady until the clay is spinning in your hands.Make sure the fingers are completely closed, no spaced between the fingers.

Hold the hands down firmly and let the clay spin in your hands; look at figures 1,2 & 3 in the image at top right.

Keep your hands thoroughly wet and as the clay spins, squeeze a little, not too much now, as you squeeze with the hands firmly clasped around the clay the clay will rise like a cone, most students crack jokes at this stage.
When you feel your hands are getting dry, bring your hands gently away from the clay and give another soaking.
Pottery is a gentle adt, do everything gently.

See how tall a you can make the cone rise, then gently and slowly press back down to about two inches then back up again; keep repeating until the ball of clay is too small. believe me it will get smaller and smaller. REPEAT THIS EXERCISE until it becomes an automatic exercise or until you have completely mastered this stage.
Keep practicing for one to 2 weeks.

click on images to purchase from Amazon, clay included.
Send me an email if you have any problems or questions.

Get ready to make your first salable item in the next lesson.


  1. I love visiting pottery and artisan type shops and factories. I thought for a moment that you were in Devon, UK and in my mind thought I would be visiting your workshop! I soon read that you were in Anguilla.
    Even so, I love the look of your work and wish you the best of luck in your endeavours to sell this obviously first class artwork.
    It’s great that you can impart the joy of creating pottery, something I would love to do if I had the time.
    As for your creations, if you want to sell them, you need to have something on your site with some prices. You will surely do well with these pieces. You are both very talented! Ches


    1. Thank you Ches, our artwork is for sale on the site, check the drop down menus.


  2. Hi Courtney,

    I loved your article on how to learn pottery on the wheel. My mom is elderly and bored so I recently signed er up for pottery classes and she loves it. I sent a link to your article to her. She is going to love reading it because all she talks about is pottery now. I’m glad that she found a hobby she loves. Thanks for a great article.



    1. Jack I am glad that she loves it; it’s great therapy and very satisfying; has she used the slab roller?


  3. Hey this is soo interesting! I’m an artist myself, and I always wanted to try working with clay as it seem like such craftsy thing to do. I had no idea that it’s possible to pitches all the necessary tools including the wheel on amazon! I always though that it has to be a professional course. I’m going to check part 1 for exercises! Thanks!


    1. Thanks for your comments,go right ahead, I plan to follow up with other ideas.keep an eye out., 


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