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 Denice E. Demuth on February 11, 2013 at 5:49pm

Thank you for looking up the links for me, I'll take a look at them tomorrow, it's suppose to be a snowy day.  I have actually been very lucky with my sight a lot of MS patients first symptom is double vision, blurry vision or no vision. They told me 5 years ago that I had a lesion very close to my optic nerve and that I had a small hole in my vision. I just kept hoping mine wouldn't get any worse.  From what I have read this could clear up in 6 months and leave some damage or just stay they way it is. I'll just have to be patient and wait.

Comment by Kathy Ransom on February 11, 2013 at 11:47am

My recovery from surgery is going well but it's been 6 weeks and I have at least another 2 weeks non-weight bearing and stuck in my wheelchair.  I've been able to get into my studio and have the kiln going right now as I need to have completed pieces photographed and ready to go on fri for a group show.  It takes at least twice as long to get anything done but at least it is getting done!!

For me Denice, with a gradual loss of function I still grieve and feel the loss but  I get the chance to adjust and learn to cope. I'm not sure how I would cope with the amount of function I've lost if it happened suddenly but I think the adjustment would be very difficult.

I googled blind potter and found some terrific links.  The yahoo link has some great advice, especially around grants and accomodations to help you adapt your pottery practise.

Roger Hicks

Blind Art Gallery

Ann Semple

Kerry Wilson

Awesome practical advice


Comment by Denice E. Demuth on February 10, 2013 at 2:03pm

I have never considered myself physically challenge before, I have Multiple Sclerosis and have been holding together.  I go to physical therapy off an on to keep walking and I'm not quite as strong as I use to be.  But lately I have been have trouble with my eyes, I can only work for a short time and then everything around me gets blurry.  Optic Neuritis is quite common in MS patients, I'm hoping this is a temporary problem. I'm thinking about going back to throwing it doesn't require the vision that the majolica glazing I do now.  There was a blind thrower in my college ceramics class she did some beautiful work.  I look forward to any helpful tips from members of this group this vision problem is new to me and very disconcerting.  Denice

Comment by Desiree on January 2, 2013 at 10:52am
I love sculpture too! I think that will help you during recovery. This last fall I was a featured artist with my life size sculpture in Branson Missouri's silver dollar city. I am half through another right now.
Comment by Kathy Ransom on January 2, 2013 at 12:41am

Hi Desiree and I couldn't agree more about doing what you love!  I'm having a major rebuild on my right foot on Thursday and am not sure what working in my studio will be like for the next few months but am hoping to do some sculpture.  I purchased a DVD by Esther Shimazu and am feeling very inspired.

Comment by Desiree on January 1, 2013 at 6:33pm
Hi Kathy, I look forward to learning and sharing with your group.
I've rearranged my work space to have one wheel elevated hip high...and creating my work tables the same. I'm five foot tall with a neck injury and find if my work surface is even 6" too tall, it produces neck and shoulder strain, which compounds over several days work.
I also try to use my smaller kilns when I am working alone. The weight of the larger shelves for the big kiln,and deeper kiln produce too much strain on the neck and shoulders. It is hard to wait for a helper to load the big kiln. But mostly I do. I am much stronger and in better shape than most women my age...but that doesn't mean I can still do it all alone. I am very blessed to love my work that helps me stay fit.
Comment by Kathy Ransom on October 5, 2012 at 11:16am

I have a small hand truck that I purchased at Princess Auto and a supply of bungee cords.  I use plastic cases that are a good size for the hand truck and not super heavy for me to move (short distances only). I find the plastic file folder cases work really well and I wrap my pieces in the thin, light foam sheets that you buy in rolls to use as an underlay for laminate flooring.  We've cut them into a variety of sizes to accommodate my work so I wrap my work and pack it into the boxes.  When I get to the venue, I load the cases 2 at a time onto the hand truck and strap them down then roll all to where I need to be.  This is no help if there are stairs to negotiate but I haven't encountered that yet. I do find it very taxing to do a one - two day show this way and have been looking for other ways to sell that don't involve this as I'm pretty wiped by the end of the day.  If anyone has better solutions, I'd love to hear them!

Comment by Smartsyartsy on October 3, 2012 at 8:31pm
Hi everyone, I am grateful for a Place to talk about issues that many do not face. It seems we chose wares that are not very easy to transport! I am 3 weeks into recovery from hurting myself carrying too much to do a market show. I knew going into it I would have several down days afterward, but on top of the obvious, I really injured my upper back, shoulders and neck.

So for those of you who sell at markets, what do you use to transport everything from car to setup space?
Comment by Kathy Ransom on September 8, 2012 at 8:40am

Welcome Ashley! I've found my art to be terrific therapy, in fact I attended an art therapy workshop a few years ago so I knew I was on the right path.  I am a business of one too and that's a challenge in and of itself.

Comment by Ashley Hakes on September 8, 2012 at 1:38am
Hello group,

I am new to this website and noticed what an awesome idea it was to create this forum. I am 31-years-old and am recovering from bilateral hip surgeries. Only 10 months ago I was able to revisit my first love (pottery and sculpture) after 10 years in grad school. I had already been dealing with severe pain for a year and was in my first (and hopefully last) depressive episode. Being able to express myself through art was exactly what I needed, and just a short time ago, I was able to open a very small (1 employee - me) pottery business. I have a kiln on the way, and I am anxious to learn more from colleagues and peers who have years more experience than I do. Fantastic group - I look forward to learning from all of you!! Ashley

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Purchase Glazes Cone 6 by Michael Bailey, The Potters Book of Glaze Recipes by Emmanuel Cooper, or Making Marks by Robin Hopper, all available at amazon.comMastering Cone 6 Glazes by John Hesselberth & Ron Roy is now out of print.

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Following are a few scales useful for potters. Your final price could be less or more - things change.

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ebay is a great alternative for many tools and the equipment used in the ceramics studio - kilns, wheels, extruders, slab rollers are often listed there both new and used.

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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