004 Thoughts While Starting A Pot – MudTalk Podcast

MudTalk Podcast
MudTalk Podcast - Pottery, Ceramics, Business
004 Thoughts While Starting A Pot - MudTalk Podcast

thoughts while starting a potCheck it out, we have a fancy intro now. And when I say “fancy” I mean “A short song I slapped together with sounds from my clay studio and an amateur rendition of the guitar part from a song that was popular years ago.” First one to guess what the song is gets an internet high five.

Thanks for taking a listen. This episode is shorter than the first three. Let me know if that is better or worse.


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This is episode 4 of the MudTalk Podcast and is brought to you by Expert Clay. Expert Clay is a new site that allows clay experts to share their knowledge through courses, videos and digital media. Go to expertclay.com to find out how you can join for free and learn from an expert or decide what expertise you can share with others. Thanks for tuning in. In this episode we’re going to be talking about what you think about as you start making a pot. I looked forward to exploring this topic because I expected a variety of different answers. There were quite a range of answers but most were about feelings or visualizing the finished piece or about the process itself. So, we’ll hear comments about each of those and then I’ll share a few of my favorites at the end. Let’s get started!

Self Encouragement / Hope / Chant

First there were some responses with great chants or words of self encouragement.

Amelia.tungsten “Don’t mess up! Don’t mess up! Don’t mess up!”

TangentGirlNat Don’t collapse. Don’t collapse. Don’t collapse. Don’t collapse.

Stonecropstudio Was curious about this. Threw yesterday…turns out I think “lift, lift, lift!”

WineSellersGirl “Please don’t screw this up.” (I’m new to this throwing stuff.)

Rainstormworks I hope the clay has the same idea i do.

NancyeOakley1969 hope i can create what my mind sees.

Sgrace_pots Is this going to center? Am I breathing? Nope. Take a breath. Slow down.

BrandonDonnaLee I can do this. I can do this. And finding the picture in my head in the clay. Listening to my breathing (somehow far away in the distance).

RobinLambright My first thought…is it a throwing day or a back in the bucket day…

Feelings: calm, zen, clear mind

Plenty of people seem to get a feeling of calm or clear mind as they start to make a pot.

Blue_s_reflectedin_fiery_water in my opinion it makes calmness and releases the soul in love

Erikapetersons Throwing on the wheel is my yoga. If I’m too distracted with thoughts I can’t throw. So it is a zen moment. After a session on the wheel I feel like I’ve been totally washed from all my worries.

Bobbie141 I love playing with clay ..my mind just goes …..to a great place…

Terispad_yellowdoorpottery I try to clear my mind, and breathe. I sometimes hold my breath and that makes me tense.

Annelie57 I just close my eyes and feel the clay

Lkjohnson.09 I’m new to the wheel and it feels much more soulful than handbuilding. Close my eyes often for tactile focus, which is lovely. It’s akin to playing an instrument well or singing a beautiful song.

Themuddyyogi Nothing. I think of nothing at all which is why I love doing this so much. It’s a fabulous escape.

Studio2ceramics There’s very little in my head when I throw. Lol!

Themuddyhive Yes!!! ? Breathe and go. Relax and do. ?

Ladarafineart I have a clear mind and relax

Tania_akm Emptiness and mindfulness… And let my hands work ☺️

Wren_wolf_stag Nothing. That’s why I love pottery. It’s the only thing that calms my over thinking brain

Bviv2323 Let’s breath and get centered ?

Clay_breeziespots It’s my peaceful time, every time I start making a pot I always wish that I started sooner.


Some potters have happy thoughts and are just excited to be living the dream.

Jisfalt88 the biggest thing that goes through my head is, “Oh yay, time to get Dirty!”

Zockollpottery I’m getting to do what I love…my passion in life.

CarolBarclay6 I hand build in porcelain. My overwhelming feeling is the enjoyment of the coolness, suppleness and the seemingly infinite possibilities ahead of me.

TariHuffaker I just love the feel of the clay slipping through my hands. Sometimes i say, “we can so do this, you and i.” Clay is a great friend.

Finished Pot

Many potters think about what they want the pot to look like in the end.

Clevass5 I always wonder if this pot will end up looking like what I set out to make ?

Erinmcarthur709 For me, it’s like a meditation. I put my mind into the clay and let thoughts emerge about where the vessel might go when it’s finished.

Dowidat.ceramics Mostly form and how the lip will touch a persons lip. Or how a person will use the item after it’s finished.

Merakiearthpottery If it’s an order, I get a specific picture of what I’m making in my head and just go for it. If it’s not an order I think, “hhmmm. I Wonder what this lump of clay wants to be.” ?

Handandearth How can I make this piece mine. When someone looks at it and thinks “oh Ik who made that piece” is my goal always before,during, and after I sit down.

Pettypottery_nc I start thinking about how do I want peoples hands to meet the pot…that question informs the shapes of my pots.

Lisaoleksyn I have just started, so my thought is that I just want something to turn out..I’m not worried what I make as long as it’s useable.

Production / Process

Some potters think about the process or focus on the technique.

Ericabodinepottery “How many more of these do I need to make, again?” ?

Ceramicsbyjames I have know idea what I am going to make.

Muddyhands789 When I rip a cylinder in half on the 3rd pull, I think, “Huh… well crap. What can I turn the rest of the clay into without cutting it off the bat?” No need to waste all that centering, opening, and pulling! Always salvage what I can.

Tonibug1234 I used to hold my breath now I concentrate on breathing so I tell myself breathe!!! Don’t hold your breath. I also think about how my hands are inside the piece.

Meltingpointpottery I picture what I want to make and visualize my hands working in sync to perform the correct pull or stretch. While thinking don’t mess up, don’t overwork, don’t get lazy, breathe. Can’t wait to be at a place where it is automatic and I can just sing while throwing!

Catherinedanielceramics Creating as much pattern and visual interest as possible, with no worries about how intricate the eventual glazing will be!!??

Therlechaston I try get rid of all the thoughts before …so as I throw I focus on the form ..


These last three responses were my favorite.

Srollins212 Typically, when centering and pulling, it’s predominantly silence; broken by many, many swears.

I just thought this one was funny.

Blackberrycreekpottery Even on the forms I’ve made for a long time, with each new run I’m thinking about and trying to evolve them to make them better or create new interest

Jenuine902 How can I push the limits

I love all these different responses. As I think about the different responses I start to think about each person and what kind of potter they are. Beginner to advanced or hobby potter to potters that are making a living from making pots. From my own experience, my thoughts while making pots have changed through the years. Back in college when I sat down at the wheel it was more like ‘let’s see if I can get it centered first’ or ‘I know what I want to make, concentrate so I get a mug instead of a bowl.’ As I gained more skill, and centering and pulling walls became more automatic I could start thinking about the shape right from the beginning. Or maybe even thinking about a pot that I already made and how I can make it again or how I want to make one or two small changes this time. Like: ‘Okay, this time I want to leave more clay at the bottom so I can trim a deeper foot’, or ‘I need to open it up less at the beginning so I can stretch it more after I add some texture.’ I still have thoughts like that now, especially if I’m exploring new forms or techniques. But now some of my standard forms are mostly muscle memory. So I may be thinking things like: ‘i need to make x number of these’ or ‘how quick can I throw this set of pots’ or I may even be listening to a podcast or something and not be thinking much about clay at all.

Have your thoughts changed? Do you even consider what you think about while you are making?

If you’re answer wasn’t mentioned above, you can share what YOU think about as you get ready to make a pot. Or you can share your thoughts on any of the previous MudTalk topics. You can even share your thoughts about upcoming topics. Just find the MudTalk Monday posts on the Pottery Making Info Facebook or Instagram accounts. Search for #mudtalkmonday. Leave a comment on the image. You can even be part of a future MudTalk Podcast. Go to  expertclay.com/mtp to see how you can send an audio message or written response to get your voice heard.

I have one last thing for you to consider. We’ve finished 4 episodes so I think you have a pretty good idea about what this podcast is about. If you feel like it has been worth listening to, get on iTunes or stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts and leave a rating and/or review. That will help me know that I’m on the right track and I’ll continue pressing ahead. Or if you have an idea to make this podcast better, I would love to hear it. Aaand you are also more than welcome to tell everyone you know about this podcast.

As always, thanks for listening and stay muddy.

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