Pottery and Ceramic Clay
Follow My 40 Day Pottery Challenge
Hold the ball in one hand while you push the thumb of your other hand into the middle of the ball, stopping about 1/2" from the bottom.
Now, rotate the ball while pushing outward with a hooked thumb inside the clay ball
and pushing toward the outside wall with your fingers on the outside for support.
Do not let the side of the pot become thinner than 1/4".
Work quickly with the clay so it does not dry out.
Avoid using water because it weakens the clay.
The clay can be pinched, squeezed and rubbed to the shape you want.
Smooth the finished piece inside and out with your fingers.
Designs can be scratched into the pot with a nail or sharp tool.
Indian designs or designs from nature are the most popular for this pottery.
Take a hunk of clay and pinch, pull, squeeze and carve it into the shape of your choice.
Be sure to follow the adhering suggestions above, if you are putting parts together.
The modeled figure should not be more than 3/4" thick in any one place unless it is hollowed out after it becomes leather hard.
Pinch Pottery BaseMake a pinch pottery with a wide open top.
Flatten the bottom.
Build onto this pottery by adding coils.
Roll coil on canvas by squeezing a 1" cylinder in your hand, then roll the cylinder into a rope using the fingers of both hands flat and moving hands from center of rope to ends while rolling back and forth.
The coil should be pretty even and around a 1/2" thick.
Set this coil a little to the outside of the coil beneath it if the pottery or figure is to become wider.
Set this coil a little to the inside of the coil beneath it if the shape is to become narrower.
Follow the joining instructions above to join coils to each other.
Always smooth the inside of a coil pottery.
The coils are usually left showing on the outside.
If the clay pottery becomes too soft to hold its shape, let it air dry for 30 to 60 minutes before adding more coils.
Coil BaseRoll out one even long coil that is 1/2" to 3/4" thick.
Score the coil on both sides.
Spread both sides with slip and make a tight spiral the size you wish your base to be.
Gently smooth both top and bottom of the base until it is flat.
Now, build the rest of the pottery by adding coils as suggested previously.
If the pottery is to hold liquid or food, make sure there are no open cracks between coils.
Cracks may be filled with little worm like coils that are applied and smoothed into the larger coils.
Handles on pottery or lids should be made with 1/2" coils flattened at either end and join them securely to the pottery.
Put a flattened lump of clay on canvas between two 1/2" thick sticks.
Using a dowel rod or rolling pin, roll clay out into a flat slab.
Cut the desired shapes for sides and bottom of piece to be made.
For a cylindrical piece, work with slab right away so it will curve into shape without cracking.
Seal edges by joining.
For box like pieces, let slab air dry for a short time before joining edges, so the slabs will stand up on their own.
Make sure all edges between slab are joined well and the joints pinched or smoothed together inside and out so that no cracks show.
When slabs are leather hard, designs may be cut into the side of the piece.
Flat tiles made from 1/2" and 3/4" slabs to which designs have been added make very nice wall decorations or hot plates.
Carving, texturing, piercing and adding on are very effective design techniques for flat slabs.
Strip ConstructionA method of making sculptured or large pieces from slabs of clay that are rolled out 1/4" thick and cut into long strips 3/4" to 1 1/4" wide.
A flat base 1/2" thick is cut to the desired shape and strips of clay are built up on the slab base, kinda like coil construction.
The strips are joined to each other and all of the edges are smoothed even.
If the article is to become gradually wider or narrower, the edges of the strips of clay are cut on a slant to make them lay as desired.
Strips may slant outward and inward to build up a shape.
To keep finished piece even all the way around, make a template of the silhouette desired for the finished piece out of stiff cardboard.
Hold the template up to the sides of the clay piece every once in a while when adding strips.
Handles can easily be made from narrow 1/2" wide strips of clay joined onto the clay piece while it is still damp.
When strips of clay are used for sculpture, they must be air dried just enough to still be bendable but yet be firm enough to hold the shape they are bent into.
Slip TrailingThis is done by trailing a thin rope of a contrasting color of slip onto a damp piece of pottery, using a small hand syringe or a catsup bottle.
Allow a slip trailed design to dry slowly.
Be sure to buy a glaze that will show up differently on the two colors of clay.
The glaze doesn't have to be transparent.
PiercingThis is the careful cutting of designs clear through the wall of a finished leather hard piece to create openings.
Smooth the cut edges of the opening with a wire modeling tool or a damp sponge.
A sharp fettling knife works best for piercing.
Most pottery and ceramic supply shops carry fettling knives.
Add OnsJoining designs cut from thin slabs of clay onto a finished damp piece.
Joining Clay above will help you to join an add on.
The edge between the add on shape and the clay piece should be smoothed so no cracks show.
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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.
Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.
The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.
With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.
When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.
Stash It, Smash It, Crush It,
Tye Dye It, Fly Tye It, Simplify It,
Buy It, the OutBack Hat.
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