Mop Bucket Potters Wheel

We have been vaguely keep our eyes open for a potters wheel. The restrictions have been space, money, and not standing. So far nothing has hit the sweet spot in the venn diagram for us to purchase it.

That was until there was a post in the Ealdormere A&S facebook group showing somebody using a spinning mop bucket as a potters wheel! So since that looked rediculous but also workable, I have decided to make it my mission to get this thing working.

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On my last video, two of the most popular comments were “that looks like that’ll hurt your back after a while” and “why do you break most of the things you make in your videos?” So I thought I’ll answer those today. This video’s goal is to showcase that there are many ways to throw pottery with a wheel (standing vs. seated) and they each have their pros and cons, especially with this wheel. This iteration is better for your back but only allows for one hand to throw, and yet is still completely possible with practice whether you are right or left handed (I’m left). The second question I love because I get it a lot. The videos I show are of 10-20min of throwing time and dedication to the clay and end up making basic pieces of pottery. I never considered it fair to the clay to fire it that way when I could recycle it and spend many hours working on a piece I was proud of, giving that clay a proper “home”. Clay is 100% recyclable until it is fired, and once fired it will last longer than any of us reading this message. Therefore I am very picky with what I chose to fire vs. recycle because that clay is going to live in that pot for the rest of its life; it better have the best home I can give. Otherwise I get to have a little fun destroying it! 😁 *Also I realize I misspelled luxury in the video, too lazy to re-upload the video so…

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Mind you I have never thrown pottery before, so I knew going in this was probably a stupid idea.. but I’m doing it anyway!

That very night I went online and purchased the mop bucket.. it happens to be the exact same one from the video but that’s mostly because it was cheap and reviewed well on Amazon

A few days later it had arrived and we got to work. At first it didn’t seem promising… In order to get the clay centered you need to put pressure on the sides while it’s spinning. Unfortunately you can only put a little pressure on it before it’s too much for the spin and you stop it.

Watching the video again it seemed like the clay was super wet. So we tried again but with a much more liberal application of water. This helped quite a bit. Mostly how we were doing it was Nic working the foot pedal while I was manipulating the clay, since it’s easier to center with 2 hands apparently.

I managed to only slam my finger against the ribbed portion inside the spinner once. No damage was done but it was fairly painful! Because of this we know that we’ll need to get the workable surface up at least a little bit to get fingers out of the danger zone.

We did manage to get it forming bowl like objects but both successful times they were destroyed. Once because things got out of hand and I just smooshed it.. the second time I dug down so much I’d actually bottomed out, so at best it would have been a sort of bottomless ash tray. Not very useful LOL.

After this we called it quits for the evening. Arms were tired and we were literally covered in clay water! I did not take any pictures, since we had no dry and clay free hands in attendance, but next attempt I will definitely get some pictures or video.

Next Step:

Since we have proof that the thing will at least sort of work, I’m willing to modify the bucket so that it might not function as a mop bucket anymore. This means attaching something to create a platform for the clay to go on. Likely going to replicate the above instagram version with a tiny plaster batt on top of PVC pipe cap.