Using Pottery Wheel and other rooms


My son and I joined Makerspace just recently and he is quite shy/anxious about asking people about using different tools and rooms. We cannot find an orientation class for the pottery room, for example - he knows how to throw pottery, but is unsure about just walking in, how to turn on the machine, and what protocol is for using the pottery wheel and other tools. Any tips?


Welcome to Makerspace. My Suggestions:

*Go to and look for the pottery classes. Sign up for those and you’ll learn our usage rules.

  • You don’t say how old your son is. If he is under 15 or younger, he will need to have you with him/near him when at the space.
    *If he is 16 or older and has an Add-on membership he doesn’t need an adult to accompany him. However, some committees do have training or age restrictions on use of equipment.
  • Try looking at the various committee committee pages on DMS’s wiki page for find out about equipment and rules.
  • Committees - General
  • Ceramics Committee


Welcome to DMS!

I’m going to move your post to the Ceramics category.

Can anyone on @Team_Ceramics answer this question?


You type faster than I do … :slight_smile:


Welcome! Always happy to have more groovy potters. The wheels have no training requirements. They are sturdy, easy to use machines and about the worst you can do is…give yourself a rash? :slight_smile: The power and rotational direction switches are on the right side and labeled.

The firing shelves are a work in progress for better labeling but do have signs to help direct you. The single shelf behind and next to the kilns is for In Progress Greenware. Pieces left there will not be fired. The set of two shelves in front proceeds counter clockwise. If you are standing in front of the wheels, facing the kiln wall:

Upper right hand: Greenware that is ready to be fired.
Upper left hand: Bisque that is ready to be glazed.
Lower left hand: Glazed bisque that is ready to be fired.
Bottom right hand: Complete, ready to be picked up.

After we move to our new space, this will be expanded and improved! The only other thing that pops into my head is post-use clean up. Please clean wheels thoroughly when you are done, folks use a lot of different clay bodies so we ‘try’ to keep surfaces free of clay, dust and drips. The sink in the maintenance closet across from CA is equipped with a clay trap. Throw anything chunky in the bucket next to the shelves and then you can wash splash pans, bats, tools, etc. in the sink.

Side note: The committee hosts a monthly Clay & Coffee casual event where we get together, yammer about pottery, have challenges, learn new techniques, etc. The next one will be in January, keep an eye on the calendar if you are interested, it’s a great way to meet the community!


To my understanding, at this time there is no formal requirement in order to utilize the ceramics area. However, my additional understanding is that could change in the future, but at this time it has not. If there is someone in ceramics there, please ask them and they can explain to you the shelves, how things work, etc. I know with the holidays right now it is slim pickings when it comes to classes as the chair and vice chair are out of town among many others.

If you would like I would be happy to explain via text the basics for clean up, shelves etc. I will be up there tonight as well if you’re close by (just for a different area, I have a class from 6:30-8:00). Otherwise the best bet may be to see if someone can walk you and your son through if you or he are more visual.

Edit: whoopsies, I guess while I was writing @cmcooper0 added her reply : )


You have the even cooler ‘Real Live In Person’ help offer, you rock!


I’m sure you can tell from the replies that @cmcooper0 and @thefinal posted … they do community firings, not personalized firings.


I would also add that most of his questions could be answered at the Thursday night tours.