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The 6 steps of creating functional & decorative stoneware pottery
ThrowingApplying Surface DecorationTrimmingBisque FiringGlazingFinal Firing

3. Trimming

One of the two most time consuming steps for perfectionists like myself, trimming consists of placing a partially dried (aka, “leather-hard”) piece upside-down on the wheel, re-centering it, and removing excess clay with a variety of “trimming” tools.

For me, the goal of the process is two-fold:

  1. Create a decorative base (aka, “foot rim”) for the piece.
  2. Ensure that the weight of the piece is in harmony with it’s purpose (avoiding the brick-like candy dish or the wafer-thin plate that breaks in everyday use).

Trimming finishes off the physical structure of the piece and essentially gives it a visual name. Even without firing or glazing, the pot has a personality all its own.

Typical time frame for trimming: anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes depending upon the nature of the piece.

Stoneware shavings and trimming tools

Two trimming tools and some examples of the clay shavings that they produce when used during the trimming process.

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