My wife and I recently took our first pottery class (involving the wheel — we had made other sculptures many times before) and it was very difficult, to say the least.
The lump of clay on the wheel is spinning, and in order to make anything of any use (let alone beautiful) one must keep it centered on the wheel, which is to say perfectly centered, so that one’s hands can shape the clay into a bowl or vase or cup, or a candle holder.
I was practicing my “coning” (raising the clay up as it spins, and then squishing it down into a hockey-pick share as it spins) and had inadvertently left a fat middle. Seeing this, the instructor said “Looks like you have a candle holder going there…”, and I took her advice immediately (a very good idea when one is a beginner…).
I really liked the way it turned out — it’s the one on the right in the photo below — and tried to create a second one to match it. This image was obviously after applying the glaze and before firing the pieces.
As you can see, my attempt to do a second one did not work out well: I couldn’t keep it centered on the wheel, and the result really showed the bad results when this happens.
The cool thing about pottery is that the glaze really makes it look good in ways you just can’t predict.
Here is the final piece, I’m very happy with it!