All of them rely on the same procedure:
Throw the cup parts. Start by either measuring out identical weights of clay (½ to 3/4 pounds
should be sufficient), or by throwing off the hump. Goblets are the one form I generally throw
off the hump, because the shape can be
rounder if your outer hand can go beneath the shape, which is possible when throwing off the
hump, but not on the wheel head. The one drawback of hump throwing is that S shaped cracks
can frequently appear in the bottoms of pots made this way, which does not impact the goblet
stems, which are hollow, but can occasionally crack through the cup, rendering it worthless.
Calipers or measuring sticks should be employed to make sure that the sizes are similar.
Centering the top of the hump Use your natural thumb reach to use the same amount of clay each time.
Expand with the inside hand to desired size and shape. Use a chamois to give a beaded lip shape.
Use a calipers to make sure it's the right size, particularly diameter. Score a groove where the pot should be removed from the hump.
This can be done with a piece of string tied to a cork or stick.
After making the number of cups you wish (allowing extras
for failures), make the bases as
follows: Working off the hump, make a hole down the middle of the top part, and put a wet
finger inside while pushing the outside hand towards it, making an upward pull which keeps the
stem narrow. As you reach the top, allow the inner hand to push out, creating a flared top. If the
lip of the pot is uneven, trim it with a needle tool before thinning the goblet stem. The width of
the flared base should be about the same as the width of the cup itself Collar in the stem part,
leaving a slight flare at the bottom, which helps considerably when attaching the two parts.
Make a mark with a needle tool where you wish the stem to end, and measure with a callipers,
so it can be repeated. Cut through, either with a needle tool, or a piece of cotton string tied onto
a cork (See chapter five for details on this method). To remove the stem, clean the slurry off
your hands thoroughly before gently lifting from the upper flared part. The safest way to store
them at this point is to invert them and set them on a flat surface, in the position they will be
used, with the flared part down. If you have also successfully left a bit of flaring where it will
attach to the cup, this may be sufficient so that you can store them upside down, as they were
thrown. I do this regularly, but it's tricky moving them that way.
Insert a finger to make a narrow entrance. Flare the top with each pull
Collar in the lower part to keep it nice and thin. Keep it wet when doing that. Use a bent wire or calipers to mark the cutoff line.
Leave both parts set until they are leather hard. To get the best set of goblets, notice the
variations in the pots you've made. Set the taller bases with the shorter tops, and shorter bases
with the taller tops. This will result in closer average size for the goblets. Some variation in
height is unavoidable in hand thrown pottery, so don't despair at the natural variation which
To attach them, center the goblet cup upside down on the
wheel, and secure with four pats of
clay, or any way that you are accustomed. Trim any protruding or thick bits off, and score a
series of lines on the bottom of the cup while it is turning, where the stem will attach. Apply a
generous coating of slip on the scored area.
To prepare the goblet stem, hollow out the part where it will attach onto the goblet with a
pear shaped trimming tool, so as to remove excess clay, and ensure that the stem is hollow.If the
stem is left solid, it may detach in the bisque firing from steam building where the parts are
joined. Now slip and score it, and press it securely into place, using the circle of scored lines on
the cup as a guide. Spin the wheel to make sure the stem is centered, and apply a wet chamois
and finger pressure to the joined area, to smooth and compress it. At this point the base may be
slightly wobbly. This can be adjusted in two phases. First hook a finger inside the base as it
spins to gently apply pressure which will bring the stem more apparently true. Then, remove the
pats of clay, and flip the goblet into its normal use position. Re-center the base, and slowly
rotate the goblet, watching for tipping on the top. Stop the wheel and give it slight nudges to
straighten it, then spin to check your progress. This last step is only necessary if it seems a bit
out of true when the joining is finished. Set on a very flat surface to dry, and fire when
Center and attach cup upside down to wheel with 4 pats of clay. Trim off excess clay from bottom of cup.
Score and slip lines where the goblet stem will attach. Goblet stem can be thinned out at upper end with a pear shaped tool.
Place scored and slipped stem on the goblet, using lines as guide, and smooth joint while turning with wet chamois.
Finished goblets in a variety of glaze decorations.
There are other ways of making goblets. The base can be solid clay, and thrown in the position
of use, instead of upside down as I've illustrated. A solid base thrown off the hump is especially
prone to S-cracks, so this method may work better with individual balls of clay. One advantage
of the solid base is that it lowers the center of gravity of the goblet, making it a little less tippy,
but if it is large it may make them seem too heavy. Throwing the shape in this manner may be
easier for less advanced potters. It is also possible, though time consuming, to carve out the
insides of the goblet by hand. A final option is to purchase wood bases, available through
potter's suppliers, which are epoxied on after the final firing. These are expensive enough to put
off most professional potters, but might help an exasperated amateur to get a nice set of
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