A clay potter wheel can be used to create a unique wine goblet out of a single piece of clay. Wine goblets which are put together from separate parts often lack unity of form, whereas a wine goblet made from a single piece of thrown clay makes for an integrated object which has heft and balance in the hand, and an appealing visual elegance.
To begin, take two pounds or so of clay and center it into a 5″ tall mound on the throwing wheel. Since the bottom of the wine goblet must be trimmed to about 3″ diameter it is a good idea to leave some extra clay at the bottom while throwing. Slow down the wheel and open the clay mound down to approximately 2″ in the center. It is important to seek a correct balance in size between the cup and stem, otherwise the wine goblet may become top-heavy when it is filled. Additionally, making too large a cup will not leave sufficient clay to form the stem; and a stem which is too thin can warp in the kiln since it is unable to support the weight of the cup. Generally speaking, the cup should be less than half of the height of the finished wine goblet. After centering the clay and opening it, define the cup’s inside and outside; and compress the inside bottom with your finger to align the particles of clay and to avoid S-cracks. Then pull the cup’s side up to its final shape, flaring the lip slightly but not too wide (which permits too much wine to flow out at a time). Calipers can be used to check the correct diameter and height of a little over 3″. Then use chamois to finish the cup’s lip.
Next form the stem. You can use a throwing sponge to maintain a lubricated clay surface. Again, slower throwing wheels are used for this part of the process. Gently and slowly force the clay up the stem applying equal pressure with both hands to opposite sides of the stem. Don’t use more than a couple of pulls since this overworks the clay, which makes it liable to cracking. Then, undercut the base with a wire and water, and slide the wine goblet off of the bat. After allowing it to dry for several hours, place the wine goblet back on the center of the wheel and straighten it up if it is not vertical. Air dry overnight to hard-leather stage, at which point it is easy to manipulate and trim the wine goblet to perfection. You can flatten the bottom with a trimming tool so that the base of the wine goblet parallels the wheel head. Start trimming the foot, and only when that is complete begin work on trimming the wine goblet’s stem. Starting at the foot, peel any asymmetrical clay from the stem to make a symmetrical, perpendicular, and smooth stem. Turn the wine goblet right-side up now and then to study how the finished goblet will look and what further trimming needs to be done. Then with a finger or moist sponge finish the stem surface. When you bisque-fire a wine goblet permit the kiln to heat slowly until the first 212° F (100° C) is reached. Be careful of kiln ventilation, and do not stack goblets in the kiln.