The next step is to center the clay. This process is the most important and much of a big hullabaloo was made about it by the potters I had met. There were psychological and spiritual considerations, and one might be led to believe that some sort of salvation of one's life might occur if one could properly understand the concept of centering. Personally I never did get it. Centering could be a difficult thing to do if one worked from one's waist. Of course there is the theory that difficulty in centering was preferred as a meditation on its life-learning lessons. Probably my attitude was that if such was the case, pottery should be relegated to monasteries and spiritual retreats. And of course there was the conflict on my part, that I might be destroying tradition and cheapening the discipline of 'throwing'. However I thought for the average person who may be using this shop, the esotericism of throwing pots would not be of much matter.
There were various techniques for centering clay on the wheel head. The way I learned was with the elbows braced on hips and hands cupped around the clay, one simply pulled back until the the clay spun smoothly without oscillation. It could be fairly difficult. I designed my own method. How it came about I don't remember but was probably a combination of several different potter's methods. One uses the hands and arms in conjunction with the legs. With a fast spin one cups the hands around the clay with fingers in front so that the index fingers are just touching and the thumbs placed across the top. Holding this position rigid, one pulls back until the spin feels true.
(6 of 10)