Pottery Wheel Minimum Age

#1

A long time ago, I read some where that the minimum age to use the pottery wheel is 8 years old. I’ve been telling my daughter that. Now her 8th birthday is coming up real soon and she wants to spend the day of her 8th birthday with the pottery wheel.

Is the minimum age to use the pottery wheel still 8 years old?

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#2

I was always told that it was 10 and the child had to be accompanied by an adult.

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#3

The minimum age to use the wheel is not stated in the Ceramics policies on the MakeICT wiki. The one thing that is stated is that all users under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. After a quick conversation with the leadership of the Ceramics department, the conclusion is; the age to use the wheel is more of a reflection on the accompanying parent. If the direct supervising parent has wheel experience then, 8 would be acceptable. Without a wheel experienced supervising parent, 10 would be a better starting age. One of the issues of using the wheel is the strength and control that is required to “make” the clay do what you want it to, young children may not have the physical presence to use the wheel effectively.

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#4

Thanks for the clarification!

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#5

It used to be age 10, I don’t think it was ever 8:
http://makeict.org/wiki/index.php?title=Ceramics&oldid=5849

Was the age removed on purpose or did it just sort of fall off?

I’ve kind of had a “no power tools until you’re 12 but talk to the area lead” talking point for new members because all the different ages we had floating around the space. This thread feels good though I like taking it on a case by case basis. I’ve had some old guys grumble at me “I was welding when I was five!” kinds of things and I just shrug.

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#6

Not in a makerspace, they didn’t. At least not one that’s still in business. :slight_smile:

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#7

When each of the areas was asked to update our wiki pages last year we removed the old specific detail about age and standardized with the overall MakeICT policy of children under the age of 16 being accompanied by an adult. This made the access policy simpler.

When it comes to kids working with tools, and in particular power tools that can quickly cause injury, it’s hard to set a single age rule. So much depends on the experience and temperament of the child, and perhaps more importantly the experience of the adult supervising them. We don’t know how to make a rule that respects that without seeming like we’re being arbitrary or judging the parent / child.

When it comes to using the wheel, we want to be sure that everybody using the wheel has had some instruction in properly using it. We have Ceramics Tuesdays for this reason. It gives folks a chance to try it out and see if they want to do more on their own, or take one of our classes. Having a supervised introduction to the wheel will give you a chance to understand the amount of strength and dexterity involved and allow you to make a personal judgement about whether or not the wheel is a good fit for you. Folks of all ages are welcome on Ceramics Tuesday.

So… having said much, and little, we’ll propose this:

  • For children under the age of 16 who wish to use the wheel, we will need to approve on a case-by-case basis.
  • We expect the member who will be supervising the child to be experienced using the wheel at a level where they feel comfortable that they can objectively judge whether or not the child demonstrates the necessary strength, dexterity, and temperament to safely operate the wheel.
  • We would want to meet with the parent / guardian and child the first time they are in to supervise and help to make sure there are no issues.

Safety is our first concern. We want people making safely so they can have a great experience in the studio!

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Ceramics Wiki Page Updates 4/16/2019
#8

After some thought, my personal plan is to sign Olivia up for one of those beginner’s pottery wheel classes in which I will be present with her. I will also add a block under the pottery wheel pedal so the speed of the pottery wheel is limited. At the class, I can discuss Olivia’s readiness with the lead.

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