I created the Switchlift out of necessity. My name is Tim Carlburg and I am a full time production potter working in Northwest Montana. I developed debilitating back pain due to the traditional hunched over throwing position I had been taught. My solution at the time was lots of chiropractic work and steroid injections, with talk of surgery on the horizon. Then, I read fellow potter John Glick’s essay, “To Sciatica and Back”, published in 1987. In Glick’s essay, he explained his back issues and how his pain was alleviated by creating a standing workstation for his wheel. That article inspired me to try throwing from a standing position. I built a stationary platform for my own wheel and began to work in the standing position over 5 years ago. Today, I am throwing with much more consistency and my time behind the wheel is completely pain free. No more visits to the chiropractor. No more visits to the doctor. The pain is gone.
My initial training and degree is in K-12 Art Education. As it became clear to me how much more sustainable this throwing position is, I thought about how to share this with the pottery community. My hope is that others can learn how to throw while standing, regardless of their size, right from the beginning and to avoid the pain that I went through. I wished that I had learned this way of working from the beginning and now others can. The Ergonomic Alternative has arrived.
My solution--The Switchlift--the world’s first Ergonomic Potter’s Workstation. The mobile workstation that an artist can use from a seated working height, to a standing working height, or anywhere in between with the simple push of a button.