Standing Up

I had a request the other day to post a little bit about throwing standing up. This is a great topic for those of you who still sit down to throw and most likely are having some aches and pains doing so.
I can not really recall who I must of encountered throwing standing up but I do recall that I started my first year of grad school. While sitting down I was having a lot of pain in my tail bone, which has totally gone away since then. For years I would throw standing up facing exactly the same way most people do sitting down behind a Brent. I do recall having some trouble being able to pull tall forms at this angle, but I can't be certain about that since we all know that making tall forms comes with time. I do know that it did take awhile to figure out that centering the normal way of just forcing a lump of clay into a disc form was a bit more challenging. I think the reason is that if you can not press your elbows into your knees, you are forced to use just the strength of your form arm. Soon after the start of my first semester one of our instructors did a demo on throwing large amounts of clay. His method of centering involved pounding the clay into the middle of the wheel head and then coning up. This method worked for me standing up because I could rely on my entire arm strength to just push the clay to the middle of the wheel and not have to brace my arms for centering a large clump.

In the fall of 2000 when I was pregnant with Quaid I found I could not get close enough to my wheel head due to my growing belly so I moved to the side of the wheel. Since then I have been throwing "side saddle" and have not changed back. I find I can get closer to the wheel head and I have more room to switch my feet back and forth on the pedal so my legs don't get tired.

As you can see in this photo my wheel is up on one cinder block and steadied by a piece of wood. I have had people tell me they have two cinder blocks stacked on top of each other horizontally and I'm sure this works great as well. As far as height goes, you have to find what is comfortable for you. You can adjust your posts on most models or add boards if your really tall. I am happy to report that I don't feel like I have any hip or lower back issues anymore. I can at times have some pain in my left shoulder blade if I'm pulling a lot of tall cylinders in one night. I try not to throw for long periods at a time so I am moving around a lot while I work.

I hope this information was helpful! Thanks for the topic idea!


Brian said...


Great post. I've never gotten the hang of centering by coning, but it looks like I need to learn.

I also find myself over to the left side of the wheel, side saddle. I thought it was a bit strange, since the wheel is round, but I guess you really do get closer to the wheel.


Jen Mecca said...

If you have access to watch someone throw who cones up that would be great. Maybe they can talk you through the process. I think that once you get it, you'll find its easier than the other way.
Good luck, Jen