Throwing Standing

I just returned from beautiful West Palm Beach, FL yesterday after teaching a weekend workshop with a lovely group at the Armory Art Center hosted by Helen Otterson. The topic of back health came up during the couple days (as happens when you have a bunch of ceramic artists together for a short time) because I stand to throw.

I have thrown standing since 1995 when I held an internship throwing historical pots at the Henry Ford Museum’s Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. That same year prior to the move to Detroit, as I was making work and firing for my BFA show, my back “went out” leaving me in bed for several weeks on pain medication. So learning to stand at that point was a nice coincidence. But then the year after my internship, when I became the assistant and artist-in-residence with John Glick, I realized how important my standing was to keep my back healthy. John has written a couple of excellent articles for Studio Potter about back health which can be found here on his site. (And one of them is here on Studio Potter’s site.) He outlines how to take care of your back, his ultimate need for surgery and recovery–which we would all like to avoid– and drawings/pictures of his backrest to lean against while standing to throw.

Above is a picture of my wheel set-up and backrest that my husband made, modifying John’s set-up. (I have moved the same cement blocks and bricks to four different studios.) I have now been standing to throw for 13 years, and credit that and John for assisting me in better back health. Now if we could all figure out the other bad things…lifting kiln shelves and 50 lb. bags of materials…

3 thoughts on “Throwing Standing

  1. ‘ve always loved your work. I’m so glad that I found your new site. :~)

    I’ve been taking a break from making pottery until my kids get a little older and I can spend more time in the studio without interruptions. I’m hoping to able to make new work again next summer.

    Your work is very inspirational, and maybe one day I will be able to attend one of your workshops.

    Thank you. :~)

  2. I also learned from John Glick to throw standing. I attended a workshop given by John at the Ann Arbor Potters’ guild in 2002 and have been standing while throwing ever since. If someone could teach me how to garden with a back saving procedure I would gladly pay them. I belie every student should learn to throw this way. It’s been a lifesaver in my ability to continuing the development of my skills and I didn’t have to give up pottery!

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