Published: June 15, 2018 By

Turning is a process of removing excess clay from a wheel-thrown, leather-hard vase. The same procedure is called trimming when the vase is handmade. The process allows the potter to shave off clay that is too thick or unattractive, as well as to provide shape to elements like foots of cups. 

To turn a vase, a potter places the vase upside-down on the wheel. She or he then uses tools, such as a loop tool or a scraper, to remove the excess clay from the vessel as it turns. Once a vessel has been turned, it is ready for decoration and the addition of appendages like handles and spouts.

This essay was written to accompany a collection of Greek artifacts at the CU Art Museum


  • Toby Schreiber, Athenian Vase Construction: A Potter's Analysis (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999): 21-22.