Thoughts about hand throwing.
We are delighted to invite you to an intensive hand throwing course at our workshop.
Our workshop is equipped with three throwing stations, which are spaced apart to give you personal space while also allowing you to see others and experience the workshop community. We have chosen to have two instructors for a maximum of three participants, so there is always roughly one-on-one instruction. This is the only way to achieve rapid progress. This is the only way to achieve rapid progress.
We have mostly taught in a busy production room or in a classroom that was too crowded. Our sense is that the atmosphere will be more relaxed here since there are fewer of us and there is plenty of space, with no external distractions.
We were taught that there is a certain way to hand throw, and we ourselves have repeated that same method. However, in the past decade, we have become aware that the way you hold your hands is not what “hand throwing” is all about.
Of course, there are some obvious physical laws that apply. It’s primarily about finding your own method. During the course, we will of course show you in a practical way how we do it…how we hold our hands, the tool rest, etc. But the method that works for you is the right one. As a student, you will experience that the instructors have different methods, which we see as a strength of the course.
The most beautiful thing about hand throwing is that the potter always leaves their signature and the process itself sharpens the sense of form and change. This is true for both unique pieces and series production.
Our greatest joy in working is that we are “forced” to be present with the clay. It’s not that we don’t see or hear the world around us when we a working. It’s almost a meditative feeling we find in the repetition. If our focus on the clay falls, so does the quality of our work.
There is a large element of spontaneous joy in hand throwing. The pliable clay almost calls for the possibility of changing the form and the tension to be kept intense at the cutting edge of the material and your own limitations. Det punkt giver os i dag den samme fornemmelse af ”flow”, som da vi som 16 årige mødte leret.
Hand throwing is a craft that is perfectly suited to all workshops in terms of flexibility and efficiency.
We are familiar with most other ceramic techniques. Professionally, we have no deep knowledge of anything other than throwing, but we can see that the other techniques each have their own advantages and that good ceramics can be made without throwing. However, it is time-consuming, expensive and there is a built-in conflict between the small production and the inflexibility of casting production, which has dominated the past 40 years of teaching throughout Europe.
At our workshop, we make unique pieces and we have developed a small series of practical art pieces. …..
Aage Würtz explains:
It was also a significant part of the work at KH Würtz along with the development of new models and training and education of potters. The first years at KH Würtz, where besides my son Kasper Würtz only a few employees were present, a large part of my time was occupied by series production, which I love. To make a bowl and then try to make the next one more beautiful and repeat and repeat until I approach the form is challenging and developing for me…
16 years ago, I was called by a chef unknown to me who had received some of my plates and bowls as a gift. He asked if we could make 25 different samples of bowls and plates. We could call when they were finished. He was more than surprised when the samples were delivered after 14 days and even more shocked when requests for changing the size of a plate were not a problem and our modest workshop only needed 6 weeks to make the 2000 pieces they ordered. If the 25 models had to be made in molds, production would have taken maybe 6 months and large start-up costs. The order could be made by purchasing 2 tons of clay and glaze material and a little diligence.
I mention this because the concept of collaboration with Noma and a long list of other restaurants has turned out to be a comprehensive sustainable trend and shown its value in many workshops.
The essential thing in hand turning is the constant opportunities for improvement and changes over time. It gives an expression where one senses the time the ceramics are produced in and the potters personal craftsmanship development.
For us, it gives an extra dimension beyond the form itself AlleAll potters have their own distinctiveness as handwriting. It is seen in small details such as the structure in the turning lines and finishes.
Is there no disadvantages to hand turning?
Sometimes we can crinkle our toes when we encounter ceramics that we ourselves have made, where details are either over- or underplayed. Or even worse, when we encounter a bowl where we can clearly see that our presence in the throwing process was absent.
It takes a long time to learn how to repeat a form. It takes courage to throw what you want to rather than what you can. It is a good thing to “play with the clay” and see what it can and will, but if you want growth, it requires a goal.
A fanciful approach to the development of the form you want, where you intuitively follow impulses along the way, is a path that we ourselves use. It is not necessary to have made an accurate working drawing, if any at all, if you otherwise master the technique to perform the image you have in your mind of the form.
Our experience is that the hand throwing development really takes off when there is a pre-desired form that is worked towards. There can be many frustrations in moving on this knife edge with the delicate clay if you don’t want to settle for chance. But at this point, the joy of experiencing the development is also felt and it is a delightful feeling.
Ceramic education today is described by many students we have met as lacking real instruction in hand throwing. This is regardless of whether they come from Bornholm, Oslo, Zurich, Toronto or London. The throwing discipline is treated stepmotherly and with few exceptions, almost entirely omitted. If you want to learn how to throw, it is something that you have had to learn for yourself in recent years.
We don’t think the master-apprentice concept is outdated, it still works well in many crafts. At the music conservatory, students are taught by highly competent professional musicians. They are not left to their own learning, as they are in many ceramic education programs.
Our main focus on the course is the spontaneous joy that the flexible clay gives in work. We think that the very different professional levels among the participants are only an advantage. Course participants are hobby ceramists, newly graduated, experienced and professional, but they all share the love of clay and the opportunity to reflect and learn from each other.
We do not imagine that in two days we can reach both deep and wide within the discipline. We know that a lot happens when a group of ceramicists with a common obsession with clay gathers. Our experience also says that when each individual sets realistic goals for their hand throwing development, we will go far while having fun.
We hope our little writing makes sense and inspires…
We look forward to seeing you –
You are most welcome to send an email to email@example.com
Kind regards and see you soon
Gitte and Aage Einshøj Würtz