[Clayart] Throw vs turn

Robert Harris robertgharris at gmail.com
Fri Oct 14 20:23:53 EDT 2016

Jim - I think that part of the problem of understanding the words'
evolution is the timelines.  Or maybe it was regional in the UK too.
I have seen 19th century ledger entries talking about "Throwers" being paid
X shillings in the UK.
Likewise even Elijah Comfort (who worked for Cardew) was always referred to
as "previously Chief Thrower for Becketts pottery". So I am going to make
the assumption that "throwing" was still used in the UK well before the
rise of modern studio pottery in the 20th century.

So we have to ask ourselves when did "turning" become the de facto term in
the United States? Were they talking about "turning" pottery before the
revolution, or after? (When did pottery start being made in the South?). It
would be interesting to know if there are any written documents talking
about turning in the 18th century or early 19th C.

We know that large amounts of redware were made in Pennsylvania (much by
the Moravians) in the 18th century. From what I've read the Moravians were
also the earliest potters in N. Carolina. Did they directly translate the
German word "drehen" into "turn"? I can imagine that a more technical term
like throw would have been unknown to most lay people and dictionary (if
there were any) writers. Even now Google translate renders "drehen" into
"rotate". It seems possible to me that if the word "turn" was well
entrenched due to the German influence in the South, then incoming English
potters would have adapted to the local lingo!
(Just like I generally no longer use "turn" to mean finish the bases of
pots and make a footring. Although, like David Stannard, I really don't
like the word trim, since to me that implies removing excess clay in a
manner like fettling, rather than the considered turning of a footring!).


On Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 1:35 PM, Jim Brown <jbrown1000 at gmail.com> wrote:

> "I would also like to point out that pottery was one of those things that
> the colonies were forced to import from England (no wonder there was a
> revolution). In theory (though no doubt it was much broken) making pots
> here was actually illegal at the time Wedgewood and co were exporting huge
> numbers of pots." - Robert
> Interesting clip. Robert -
> You are certainly correct about all the English colonies being forced to
> import things from England - the whole economy was based upon bring raw
> materials into and exporting finished goods out.  It was also illegal for
> skilled craftsmen to move to the colonies and Wedgewood was one of the main
> forces keeping this in place.
> It would seem that France is where the word "turn" came from but what is
> interesting is that there was only one known Frenchman working in pottery
> in the old south - down in Mobile, AL.  Almost all of those working in
> pottery were of English or German heritage so it seems strange that one
> small pottery working on the Gulf in AL would have worked its way all over
> the south - seems the reverse would have been done.
> *                       JIM BROWN*
> *                 BROWN POTTERS*
> *  "Making handmade pottery . . . *
> *                                                . . . since the 1700's"  *
>                    *   386 479-4515*
> *            www.brownpotters.com <http://www.brownpotters.com>*
> -------------- next part --------------
> An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
> URL: <http://lists.clayartworld.com/pipermail/clayart/
> attachments/20161014/ea13135f/attachment.html>

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.clayartworld.com/pipermail/clayart/attachments/20161014/b5b91ddb/attachment.html>

More information about the Clayart mailing list