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How to Make a Closed Salt Shaker

In this video, we see John Britt showing us how he creates a closed salt shaker.

John Britt is a studio potter in Baskerville, North Carolina. John is a self-taught potter who has taught and worked extensively at many locations including at Penland School of Crafts. John is also the author of The Complete Guide to High-Fire Glazes and The Complete Guide to Midrange Glazes. John’s work focuses on experimentation with glazes in different ranges and colors.

John starts off with explaining the salt shakers and showing the inside view of how the salt shaker will look like. John recommends using a squared off wooden tool for this project and says to use around a ½ pound to a pound. He places the clay on the pottery wheel, quickly centers, and then goes down to the wheel head in the center of the clay. Once there is a hole in the center of the clay you will go down half an inch inside of the hole and then pull sideways and go back down to leave a ring of raised up clay in the center around the hole. After that John starts pulling the raised-up ring of clay up with his two fingers and switches to using a pinky to keep it nice and tight. John uses a needle tool to control the opening in the center to make sure that it is neither too small for the salt to get through or too big for the salt to fall back through.

What John Uses To Clean Up The Closed Salt Shaker?

closed salt shaker
John Uses the Edge of a Wooden Tool to Pinch off the Excess Clay


Using the squared off wooden tool he compresses down the base of the salt shaker in order to flatten out a ring around the cone and then pulls the excess clay up to close off the salt shaker. After he pulls up the clay he compresses the rim to ensure it is flat and then closes it off before the top with his fingers. John uses the edge of a wooden tool to pinch off the excess clay from the top and to smooth the top closed even if a little hole remains. Once that is done John finishes up by cleaning up the salt shaker with a metal rib and takes the bat off the wheel. John has created a chuck for the salt shakers and places a chuck with a salt shaker inside of it onto the wheel to trim. He quickly trims using a metal trimming tool to clean up the bottom and create a small foot for the shaker. John finishes up by saying the foot can change depending on what you want to do with it.

To see more of John Britt’s work find him on Facebook as @JohnBrittPottery, YouTube as John Britt, and check out his website


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