Potters with physical challenges


Potters with physical challenges

This is a group for anyone who has overcome (offering advice) or needs to overcome (asking advice) physical limitations in their pottery practise.

Members: 16
Latest Activity: Apr 28, 2020


I am a potter first and someone with a neuromuscular disorder is way down on the list.  My hands are very weak and clawed but have enough grip to securely hold tools, I have scoliosis but with a comfortable chair can lose myself in creating with clay for hours on end, need braces to walk but have placed my banding wheel so that most of my work is accomplished from a sitting position, ...!  My idea for this group is that we talk about our challenges only in terms of how we've overcome them and ask for advice from others with the aim of getting advice on how they've overcome their physical limitations in working with clay.  If you have tools, techniques, inspirations, etc please share them as no-one is getting any younger and we will all have our own limitations eventually.  I, for one have found a job that I have no intention of retiring from!

Discussion Forum

pottery after back surgery

Started by Lana Weed. Last reply by Lana Weed May 13, 2016. 6 Replies

I signed up for main group way back when it was a start up. I have not been active until now. I first posted in the main discussion area and was notified I should post here! Any one out there with a…Continue

Glazing while visually impaired

Started by Rodney Allen Roe. Last reply by Rodney Allen Roe Jun 29, 2014. 4 Replies

As I've mentioned before I am considered blind for legal reasons.  I have some central vision and no peripheral vision.  The deficits that interfere with making pots are a lack of depth perception,…Continue

Tags: Techniques, Blindness, Liners, Glazing

Wedging and Hand Issues

Started by Kathy Ransom. Last reply by Karon Eaid Aug 21, 2013. 1 Reply

I just read an internet discussion where potters were talking about reconstituting dried clay and some suggestions were offered for ways to wedge the clay that were a little less taxing physically.…Continue

Tags: hand, slam, stack, wedging

Throwing Clay after a Stroke

Started by Ann Rodenberg. Last reply by Kathy Ransom May 14, 2012. 5 Replies

Sorry I was not able to retrieve the rest of the discussion I started.  At any rate, I taught 3 classes a week, 2 adult, beginning to intermediate class as well as a children's handbuilding class…Continue

Comment Wall


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Comment by Rodney Allen Roe on August 10, 2013 at 9:59am

I went to the links and got a lot of inspiration.  One - the Kerry Wilson link I think - goes somewhere else now.  I have an "efriend" who has the same eye condition I do.  She is hand building using templates, and her husband and friends help her with the glazing.  I haven't done much in a while.  I'm gearing back up and will share some pics when I get a body of work done. 

Comment by Kathy Ransom on August 10, 2013 at 5:40am

Sorry Rodney, here are the links I found in February

Roger Hicks

Blind Art Gallery

Ann Semple

Kerry Wilson

Awesome practical advice

Comment by Kathy Ransom on August 10, 2013 at 5:39am

Hi Rodney, happy to 'meet' you.  I searched the internet on an earlier post (Feb 11/13)in this groups' forum and found a few websites for potters who are blind but creating wonderful work.  My challenge is very weak, clawed hands so I hand build using a staggering assortment of tools.  I'd love to be able to throw but don't have the dexterity for it so I use my remaining grip to hold tools. Do you use a wide variety of  glazes?  I went to your cone 6 page to check out your pots but see you are brand new here and haven't posted any photos yet.  If there is anything we can help you with in finding your way around this site just ask.

Comment by Denice E. Demuth on August 9, 2013 at 6:22am

Hi Rodney I'm glad you joined the group, I was wondering the same about low vision potters.  I have been having trouble with my vision lately because of my MS and was hoping to get some advice from them. One thing I have noticed on older potters is that their work gets looser and softer.  I think it's easier to work in that direction with failing eyes than detailed orientated. others say their work has matured with age.  Maybe it's a little of both.      Denice

Comment by Rodney Allen Roe on August 9, 2013 at 3:32am

Hi everyone, I'm new here.  I've been working with clay since the late 90s.  I became legally blind in 2005.  I still throw, but glazing and decoration have been problematic.  I have had some success in overcoming these challenges.  Any other blind potters out there?

Comment by Rodney Allen Roe on August 9, 2013 at 3:28am

I've been working with clay since the mid-90s.  I have had low vision (legally blind) since 2005 and continue to throw pots.  Decoration and glazing are a challenge now, but I have and still am finding ways around those challenges.  Any other blind potters out there?

Comment by Kathy Ransom on May 2, 2013 at 6:56am

Thanks Denice & Norm.  I started taking breaks a week ago and now I'm having trouble getting motivated!  It seems I can ignore aches and pains when I'm busy but ten when I stop, I notice everything.  I need to get the foot of a teapot finished off as it is supposed to be at the gallery for a show TODAY and I'm not ready, ah well.  I've tried to get my husband interested in the parts of the process, such as applying glaze and firing that I'm not so fond of but it's just not his thing.

Comment by Denice E. Demuth on April 27, 2013 at 6:33pm

Kathy I have the same trouble losing my self in my work and not giving my eyes a break.  So I started noting the time I started and then set a time to stop. During my break I would go do something else a load of clothes, sweep the floor or play with the dog and then go back to work. I don't get quite as much work done but I'm still working.  If  just keeping track of time didn't work I was going to use a timer that had a hour max.  I know it's not that easy for you to come and go from your studio, may be there are some wheel chair exercise you can do to stretch and move.  Denice

Comment by Norm Stuart on April 27, 2013 at 11:11am

My partner has been a potter for nine years and I was always annoyed at how much time he spent working with clay. There were always some pieces that were just dry enough to require trimming, or new bisque that needed glazing. He didn't have balance in his life.

Then two years ago I began making glazes and his time allocation to clay has become far more reasonable.

Apparently assimilation is an effective strategy for finding balance in your partner's life.

Comment by Kathy Ransom on April 27, 2013 at 7:00am

Is anyone else having difficulty finding a work/life balance that keeps them well physically (and emotionally!)?  My husband sat me down the other day and we went through my average studio time per week and it is roughly 80 hours.  That's a bit too much but I sit down, start working and become so absorbed that I forget to eat, stretch, move, etc.  When I was in my wheelchair in Jan & Feb, I needed to figure out how to work with a minimum of moving around the studio.  When I'm working in wet clay which is my favourite part of the process, I really lose track of time!  Working smarter, not harder is a concept I need to adopt.  Any thoughts from others on how you manage this balance and still produce work?  


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Tips for Members

If you just want to spout off, it is best accomplished as a blog posting. If you want to get more guidance and ideas from other members, ask a question as a new discussion topic. In the upper right corner of the lists for both types of posting, you will find an "+Add " button. Clicking it will open an editor where you create your posting. 4/16/2014

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