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Hand thrown pottery is an artisan craft produced by working clay on a potter's wheel. Many art centers, colleges, and universities offer pottery classes open to members of the public who are interested in learning to work with pottery. Also, people can make hand thrown pottery at home if they have space for a studio. Artisans all over the world produce pottery for sale using hand throwing techniques.
When pottery is thrown, it is worked on a piece of equipment known as a wheel. The wheel is a flat disc that rotates, using either an electric engine or a foot pedal. Clay is mounted on the middle of the wheel on a flat panel known as a bat and the potter turns the wheel on, molding the clay with the hands as it spins. Depending on what the potter does with the clay, it can be formed into bowls, vases, cups, plates, and many other types of clay crafts. Each piece will be unique because it was individually formed.
Once formed on the wheel, the piece can be allowed to dry before it is bisqued, glazed, and then fired. The firing process changes the chemical composition of the clay, hardening it and developing the glaze. Special kilns that can reach high and stable temperatures are needed for this part of the process. Since running a kiln requires a large number of pieces and some skill, some crafters prefer to take finished clay pieces to an art center for firing, rather than trying to manage their own kilns.
Skilled potters can make hand thrown pottery that is highly even, regular, and symmetrical. They are capable of producing matching sets of items that will appear almost identical and can also create large and complex pieces, including works of sculpture, on the wheel. People who are still learning how to handle clay and the wheel tend to end up with more irregularly-shaped pieces that may be of varying thickness.
People interested in purchasing hand thrown pottery can find numerous sources of pottery in different styles, ranging from rustic pieces to more formal, delicate designs. The price varies depending on the artisan, region where the hand thrown pottery was produced, and style. Some works are designed more as pieces of art and can be quite expensive, while more workaday pottery that is intended for use rather than display may be more affordable. Many artisans are also willing to work with people to create custom pieces.