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Handbuilding Vs. Wheel Throwing

Updated: Aug 29, 2020

In pottery it’s very common for beginners to ask the difference between Hand Building and Wheel Throwing techniques.Hand building and Wheel throwing are both ways to create pottery pieces out of clay. They both have their own benefits that come with the disadvantage too. With this post we hope that we can inform you a little bit about Hand Building Vs. Wheel Throwing, so that you can choose which one is perfect for your needs.


Hand Building, just like the name itself, is a technique to form an object out of clay using your own hands. Slab Building, Coiling, and Pinching are also counted as Hand Building. Usually in Hand Building you will combine several techniques altogether. With Hand Building, you can create anything. It is limitless! You can have many choices of realizing the objects you conceived. Not like Throwing method, Hand Building is about freedom and flexibility. You can make things that can’t be achieved by Wheel Throwing such as making a flat/slabbed form or a sculpture. But the downside is that Hand Building is time consuming and it is harder for you to replicate things.


This method is usually what pops up in people’s head when hearing word pottery. Wheel throwing is a method to form an object out of clay by using a manual or electric potters wheel. Different from Hand Building, to make your pottery pieces you need to center a ball of spinning clay, open it into a vessel, and lift and shape the walls while the wheel is spinning. This technique is usually used to make symmetrical and cylindrical forms. It can then be textured, decorated and reformed into alternative shapes.

Throwing on a wheel can make you make pieces quickly and easier to replicate an item. That’s why it is recommended for mass production purposes. With Throwing you can make larger cylindrical pieces. But with Wheel Throwing, everything you make will be rounded. Even if you want to alter the shapes or add other things/decorate after throwing, you also need to use Hand Building techniques.

These are several things about Hand Building and Wheel Throwing. Yes, again it’s all depending on what you want to make and which method suits your style and personality. Pottery is about expressing yourself, so there’s no right or wrong with which method you personally use. If you are looking for a potter’s wheel, we have our self-made electric wheel for you to purchase here. We also sell our clay here.

For more information about Tanakita Ceramics and pottery in general, you can follow us on our instagram @tanakitaceramics. Our studio is located at Jl. Tanjung Duren Barat IV No.1, RT.9/RW.1, Tj. Duren Utara, Kec. Grogol petamburan, Jakarta Barat.

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