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The origins of chattering is unclear, but it is thought that it is a technique that was discovered accidentally, when a metal turning tool began to jump on the pottery surface, giving it a regular pattern.

Monterey Bay sediment glazes chatter pattern around sea glass center. Band is from Santa Barbara Basin. http://store.thesoftearth.com/

Chattering is a decorative technique where a flexible metal tool is allowed to jump across the surface of a leatherhard piece of pottery, making regular ditch like depressions on the surface.

The tools which potters originally made, where from the soft strap iron used to bind boxes, were literally called planes.
We always called those metal straps spring steel.
Depending on the speed that the pottery was turning and the way the tool was held, a regular pattern would evolve.
Potters use a white body clay, covered with a dark slip or engobe.
When the flexible metal trimming tool is held onto the turning pot, it will skip across the surface, digging into it in a sgrafitto manner, revealing the lighter body beneath.
In sometimes a white slip is used over a darker body, in which case the chattered decoration appears as dark marks on a white background. Chattering is a technique that is still practiced today by individual potters and they usually make their own chattering tool.
A fail safe method is making the hoop tool from the spring steel of an old clock spring, bent in the reverse direction to which they were wound.
These also have the advantage of being of very high quality steel, which in effect sharpens itself against the clay, so they get better with use.
Chatter marks will form successfully, as long as the pot is not too wet or dry.


The brown glaze on the chatter patterned area came from scrapings off rocks from the first beam trawl in about 600 meters of water. It was my first trip on a boat afloat above sediment I’ve melted. It was a happy occasion for me, so I made this gift to the Point Sur.

Once you have your chatter marks on your pottery, pick out a glaze color that you like and put three coats on.
Make sure that your piece is completely dry and fire the pottery.
To check if your piece is dry, touch it to your cheek and if it feels warm, it is dry enough to fire.
If you just want the natural looks of your pottery, glaze with a clear glaze.

You can be robbed of what you have, but not of what you are.



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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.

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