Wednesday, August 4, 2010
In our pottery class a couple of weeks ago, someone asked the teacher where the term "throwing a pot" came from. I had never noticed the strange terminology before. The teacher had noticed, but didn't know where the term originated from. After my last post, the "throwing" just seemed too weird. I did a in depth investigation (google) on the strange term and found the following article. To throw. Potters at Marshall Pottery in Texas describe their work at the potters wheel as turning. They understand only the modern meaning of to throw and do not use it to describe their work. However, the Old English word thrawan from which to throw comes, means to twist or turn. Going back even farther, the Indo-European root *ter- means to rub, rub by twisting, twist, turn. The German word drehen, a direct relative of to throw, means turn and is used in German for throwing. Because the activity of forming pots on the wheel has not changed since Old English times, the word throw has retained its original meaning in the language of pottery but has developed a completely different meaning in everyday usage. Those who say they throw pots are using the historically correct term. Those who say they turn pots are using more current language. Both are saying the same thing.