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Throwing a Moon Jar

Throwing pots on the pottery wheel is a rolla coaster ride in risk and elation. I often get a little twitchy when I know I'll be getting on the wheel again soon, with shapes and ideas filling my head until I'm not sure what I'll make until I start weighing out clay. I often teeter on the edge of collapse- not because I'm some dare devil potter (I am sure they exist) but because my skills aren't so honed that success is 100% guaranteed. Too often the pot collapses into a pile of moosh and my muddy dreams dashed. But when I so get it right, it is fistpumpingly great. It's pretty good for the soul.


While I'm not a ceramics daredevil, I do like to push my personal boundaries. And perhaps I am a little impatient with that. I should really ball up 20 bits of weighed out clay and practice throwing mugs or bowls repetitively. But time to myself to get on the wheel is so precious that instead I find that I want to make a big bold shape and learn from that instead. Still valuable but perhaps going for glory before I've covered off the ground work may bite me in my butt sometime.


I'd been enviously watching other ceramic artists honing with what looked like effortless ease these beautiful bulbous round vases - huge in size and proportionally exquisite. When I found out they were called Moon Jars, something in my soul howled and the chase was on. About once a week for a couple of months I'd wedge out 1.5-2kg of clay and try and throw a moon jar. Each week it would collapse, often in the last leg of the throwing and like a gambling addict the loss made me want it more. I researched various YouTube tutorials, including this great one by Matthew Kelly Pottery. Damn he makes it look easy.


Over the next few weeks I felt like I was swaying between getting closer and feeling a million miles away from creating my own Moon Jar.


Eventually by hook and by crook I managed to make a Moon Jar! Wahoo! Mega. Fist. Pump!!! I still look at that baby and want to touch and stroke it. However it did feel like lady luck was with me, and sure enough when I went to throw another it flopped like a great big HAHA GETTING TO BIG FOR YOUR BRITCHES kind of flop.


So today I tried again- after more reading and researching. And somewhere - I can't remember where it said to throw them almost dry - less water the better. It worked- more than just throwing a Moon Jar, I actually felt like I was in control and I created a very deliberate shape. It's a beauty and another that when dry you might find me giving it a quick cuddle.





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Helen Walker Ceramics

Southbourne, Dorset, UK.

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