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


You need to be a member of Potters with physical challenges to add comments!

Comment by Denice E. Demuth on April 28, 2020 at 11:24am

I finally finish my mural\grill combo to fill a window on my porch,  it is made up of large thick tiles,  edge moldings and styles.  The tiles have a sculptural stylized flower pattern with cast glass medallions that look like old hand blown bottle bottoms.  It took me quite some time to learn how to kiln cast recycled glass that thick.  I threw each mold,  bisque and put separator on them.  About half of the molds I had to break off.  In order to get 70 good glass medallions I made about 110, I learned a lot but I doubt I will ever make them again.  The tiles are a inch and a half thick and I need to buy a 10 inch tile saw before I can install the grill.  My husband wants to buy it in person not on line so installation will have to wait.  He is finishing our basement during the shelter in  and is building a large shower.  I am busy making 1000 2in tiles for the floor and niche in the shower.  By the way I had my surgery on my hand, so far it hasn't totally healed, it only hurts in the evening and morning.  The last 6 months I have been going to a urologist,  my bladder wasn't working right.  A common thing that happens to to MS patients, I am alright now one of the new medicines he tried on me worked.  Denice

Comment by Denice E. Demuth on May 17, 2019 at 3:59pm

Thought I would drop in and see how everyone is doing  I know everyone has there up and downs.   I got a good report that my MS hasn't progressed much in the last 10 years and then blew my knee out a couple of days later.  I am going to have surgery on my right hand and wrist,  potting has finally taken its toll on it.  I am hoping to put it off until winter.  That way I can hang around the house in a cozy warm robe,  my hand doctor said I couldn't do anything with it for 8 weeks.  What a bummer.  Let me know how you are getting along.   Denice

Comment by Denice E. Demuth on March 11, 2016 at 2:03pm

Sorry to hear that, I'm glad your getting better.  I went through some thyroid tests last summer, my Dr. was afraid I had thyroid cancer.  I was pretty sure it was my MS messing with it but I went along with the tests.  I spent  $1500 to find out I was right and there is no treatment for it. I should have listened to my gut I could of bought a new kiln with that money.     Denice

Comment by Rodney Allen Roe on March 11, 2016 at 10:58am

I haven't checked in for a while.  I have a serious health issue which required a couple of operations and took up the fall and winter.  All looks good now.  I will be on an every 3 month check-up for a while.  I have developed nodules in the tendons in my palms - probably from wedging - that are just a nuisance.

The weather is turning nice.  I'm going to get back in my studio.  I hope everyone is at least holding their own if not getting better.

Comment by Denice E. Demuth on March 8, 2016 at 7:29pm

I just wanted to check in with the group and see how everyone is doing.  I have been doing pretty well, having some trouble with my legs so I am thinking of buying a motor for my kick wheel.  I am making coiled pots right now so there is no rush.  Denice

Comment by Denice E. Demuth on August 13, 2013 at 6:09am

Kathy thank you for the information, I have never looked into cake decorating tools, I also love working with wooden spoons.  I don't make many patterns but I do have a roll of contractor paper that has fiber in it that makes it a little more durable.  By the way the numbness in my hands has already disappeared, I'll just keep on working and try not to let these flare ups scare me.   Denice

Comment by Kathy Ransom on August 13, 2013 at 5:49am

I go to second hand stores, kitchen stores, craft stores etc and am always on the lookout for great tools.  I've found some great cake decorating tools such as a roller with discs you can combine in different ways to form patterns. There is a cake decorator on TV (Duff ?) who has a line of cake decorating items through Michaels. I like his set of hand tools for smoothing or forming patterns; each tool is double ended and you can make a variety of patterns with them. I went to a conference a few years ago and was given a 1" wooden apple on a pencil in the bag given each attendee.  When I got home I took the apple and glued it onto a piece of dowel, giving me one of my favourite tools for adding volume to a straight sided form from the inside.  I have a set of large wooden spoons I picked up at Value Village and they are terrific if I coil a rounded shape because I can put them inside the pot and paddle from the outside.  The profile on the spoon changes over its' length and I can shape the bowl as I paddle, the handle is also terrific in tight curves.  

Tarpaper and heavy construction plastic are great for making templates which is a technique I use more than any other as well.  I draft the shape I want on newspaper (another great tool!) and when I'm happy with it I put it on the plastic or tarpaper.  

The best tool I own is a very small slab roller that I bought at NCECA Seattle and I use it all of the time.

When I am out shopping I'm always on the lookout for things that I can repurpose and periodically the tools on my desk have to be sorted so that there is room to work. It's amazing what a wide array of items are needed to perform the same tasks as a good pair of hands can accomplish and I haven't found just a few perfect ones yet. 

Comment by Rodney Allen Roe on August 11, 2013 at 6:39am

Kathy, we may all be interested.  I saw an article some time ago about a potter who made things for folks with disabilities.  Thinks like plates with high sides so things didn't get chased off of the side, bowls with a ring on the side to hook the thumb of a stroke victim through etc.  It sort of piqued my interest.  From a marketing standpoint, I think those would all have to be made to order (as your tools may be).

Comment by Denice E. Demuth on August 10, 2013 at 11:46am

Kathy I may have to get some info on your tools,  I've had some stiffness in my arm and hands and today they went numb.  I'm hoping this is only temporary, losing the ability to grip is real common in MS. I'll give it a month and see if this flare up goes away.  Denice

Comment by Rodney Allen Roe on August 10, 2013 at 10:03am

Also, to answer someone's question/comment.  I have gotten simpler.  I used to do a lot of sgrafito which doesn't work now.  I'm trying to develop 2-3 glazes that I understand and stick to those.  I'd like to have breaking glazes to add interest and stick to dipping pots instead of brushing on glaze.


Members (16)



  • Add Videos
  • View All

Use These Links to Support Us

Low cost flat lapping disc can be used on you potters wheel if you, drill bat pin holes in it, and provide a trickle of water to cool it. At amazon.com, 120 grit for aggressive material removal. Click the image to purchase 

Members have had great things to say about John Britt's new book, Mid-Range Glazes. Click the image to buy from Amazon.com

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.

Harbor Freight is a great place to find unbeatable prices for better HVLP spray guns with stainless steel parts and serviceable economy models, as well as detail guns, all tested by our members for spraying glazes, as well as compressors to power the guns. As yet no one has tested and commented on the remarkably inexpensive air brushes at harbor freight.

The critter siphon gun is a spray alternative that is well liked by some of our members, and is available at amazon.

Amazon is also a competitive source for photo light tents for shooting professional quality pictures of your work. They also have the EZ Cube brand favored by several of our members. You might also want to purchase the book Photographing Arts, Crafts and Collectibles . . .

If you are up to creating videos of your work or techniques you might want to invest in a flip video camera

Following are a few scales useful for potters. Ohaus Triple Pro Mechanical Triple Beam Balance, 2610g x 0.1g, with Tare $169.00

And finally a low cost clone of the OHaus. The Adam Equipment TBB2610T Triple Beam Mechanical Balance With Tare Beam $99.62

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

© 2023   Created by Andrea Wolf.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service