Body Aches and Throwing Lots of Pots

January is catch up time… re-stocking and catching up after the busy holiday season.  I had a really nice break between Christmas and New Years, then had to switch gears back into the throwing mode.  I don’t know about any of the other potters out there, but when I’m in my throwing cycle I can’t seem to do much else.  My body is so sore every day.  I’m thinking it’s just this 48-year-old body!  My neck hurts, my hip hurts, my hands are aching!  I do my yoga, I walk a half hour a day, bike when it’s warm, cross-country ski in winter… I move my muscles in other ways, yet I’m still sore! 

I was at an Asparagus Valley Potter’s Guild meeting last week, I asked the others how they felt.  My friend Steve said he can throw pots for about 5-6 hours one day, then the next day, about 4-5 hours, then the next, 3-4 hours, by the fourth day can’t really throw anymore!  Similar stories from the others.  I need to say here, that the youngest potter there was 38. 

I remember when I discovered pottery my senior year in high school I was a real jock,  and was so happy finding an art form that was like an athletic event!  Now I’m thinking about professional athletes and how they are all retired by 35 or 40… hmm, potters can’t do that… and really I don’t want to… what I really want is the stamina of an 18-year-old again!

So does anyone else out there have anything to say about this? What are your limits?



10 thoughts on “Body Aches and Throwing Lots of Pots

  1. I can only throw for 4 or 5 hours at a time…and that’s with breaks to get up and stretch my hips and wiggle my shoulders. And I throw sitting on a low bar stool…if I was on a short stool I’d struggle more to stand up! (I’m 49 this year. So I hear ya sister!)

  2. well, before I was potting I was a letter carrier (33 years). I retired in 2005 and now like to think I am a potter. Let me tell you about my aches & pains. I have had 2 spinal surgeries, 10 screws along with rods & fusions in my spine, a carpal tunnel surgery in my right hand. Just this past June I had a total knee replacement done on my right knee. My left knee is bound to go out sometime too. Arthrits riddles my body. I just can’t help sitting my wheel throwing pots….. I throw several pots at a time but always get up for another bat or two. After an hour I don’t stand up straight, but that is not going to keep from doing what I love to do. I can go about 4 to 6 hours depending on the day but then crawl into bed. Everything hurts but because it is something that I love to do, I thank god for the pain every day. Every day for me is painful but my heart is full after hours at my wheel. I just look at it like this: pain is god’s way of telling me I am still alive, that I do & will survive. By the way, I am 62.

  3. I can definitely “feel” it when I’ve had a big throwing, glazing or working day!!! It is age and I should have picked “an easier hobby- maybe sewing”, as my friends have suggested, but pottery chose ME!! So I’ll take my Alleve, take a hot bath, sleep like a baby and do it again tomorrow! It’s an obsession!

  4. What are you sitting ON as you throw? A couple of years ago, after having
    a very good spring studio sale, I invested a in one of those potter’s stools
    (molded black seat) it made a big difference. I still need to pace myself,
    take breaks, etc.. I also try to do Pilates once a week.

  5. 51 here. Yep, same aches and pains and I mostly hand build! I stand most of the day and by 5pm my hips are really tired. I was a rock climber and white water paddler a good part of my life so aches and pains have been with me most days since I was about 20! I have just come to ignore it all, nothing a very long hot bath won’t take care of, and a couple of tylenol pm haha!
    But then you look at those potters that are still working into their 80’s and 90’s and wonder it they have the aches or if they are super human!

  6. I’m 49 and my max time standing at the wheel is 4 hours in a day. I came into making pottery with spine issues and have learned the hard way to listen to my body. Last year my wheel was put on cinder blocks. I also bought a pugmill and use a mirror to view my pot profiles. Heavy lifting is left for the guys. I try to pace my work so I’m throwing and trimming for about 3-4 hours and sitting decorating for an hour or two. I do take breaks and walk. I have noticed that I get more aches and pains in the winter months. Can’t wait for Spring!

  7. Great to hear this from all of you… I know I’m not alone!
    Virginia, I usually throw standing up. When my leg and hip start to hurt too much I go to another wheel where I sit down. I’m lucky I teach in my studio and have five different wheels to choose from!
    Karen… such a good way to put it into perspective… your heart is full after hours at the wheel! It is all worth it!

  8. Hi Lucy, I am going to be 55 this year, only been working in clay for 20 years. I went to a talk by John Glick about 10 years ago , and I am so glad I went…I was experience numerous aches and pains at the time. He was an inspiration, showing us examples of his incredible fitness routine.
    Following that workshop, I signed up for kick boxing, strength, cardio and yoga class…all offered at the same facility. I no longer have aches and complaints from throwing….just soreness from the exercise classes.
    I found that I had to become fit overall. This seemed to do the trick.

  9. Wow, so do you take classes every week? I find it so hard even to fit a yoga class in once a week, with the pottery,and teaching three nights a week, and kids. I can fit in a hour a day in (1/2hr walk 1/2hr yoga before bed. There is just never enough time.

  10. I go to an hour class of some sort, 3 times a week…walk when the weather is suitable. My kids are grown up, therefore, I have more time for this sort of thing. Sit ups and push ups ( or just holding a plank)….if you can get that done along with yoga…it will help …

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