Archive for the ‘Pottery Making Demo’ Category

Rick’s photos

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Rick Gate has a new leica. He brought it by recently and shot a bunch of files of me making pots. I’ll share a few here.
Joe the Potter happy at his kraft. Warming up here for the pottery olympics to be held in Tibet later this year.
Local boy makes good with big balls of mud.
The following series detail the making of a tall 10 lb cylinder from tow 5 lb cylinders.
The phone rings a lot at my shop.
Lining up the cylinders with breath tightly held in check.
Carefully joining the two parts.
Cutting the upper half away from the bat with a fettling knife.
After the bat is removed extra clay can be trimmed away. If you hold your mouth just right this will work at home kids.
A couple of pulls will make the joining of the two halves work better visually.
The joint is now the weakest part of the pot so I pull out the “cheater” to stiffen it up and the #&*$! phone rings again.
Be careful Daddy be careful!
A row of finished pots.

More large pots

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

For the past couple of weeks I have been making pots larger that my usual fare. I have a request from a couple of designer friends for large pieces for a new outlet they are opening in Park City. It is fun to work on things I usually am not able to make for lack of market.
These oval dishes are 16″ wide.
I tried a few of them with lids.
I made two of these bowls. They are 16″ in diameter.
14′ tubular vases
These vases are between 22 and 24 inches tall.
Here are some of them finished.
Some people can throw big vases all in one pull. I have to make smaller parts and them join them together and finish them. Here is a 15 lb bowl that will form the base for a larger vase.
The top part is thrown from 10 lbs of clay.
The rims of both parts are scored with a serrated rib. The rim of the top is concave like this so that it will fit around the rim of the lower part.
The second bowl form is inverted and carefully placed on the first like this.
The joint is then sealed and the pot is carefully thrown in such a way as to make it one continuous pot. Of course timing is pretty important here. If the pot is rushed it will collapse. If you wait too long to join the parts the joint will crack. After a few tries you get it figured out.
I worked at these all day today and got two finished. With a larger vase (50 lbs) I may only get one done all day.
After the vase has set up over night I usually attach some handles of something like that.

Pulling a handle on a mug

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

I got an email from a pottery student asking me about how I make mug handles. What follows is some instruction with images I took of myself. Unfortunately, shooting my own demo means I can only have one hand in the photo so you will have to imagine the other one.

I start with a piece of well kneaded clay that looks like this.

Thumbnail image for handles1.jpg

From this piece of clay I will pull a long handle. Note the ridge down the middle. The handle tapers from the ridge in the middle to each outside edge. I use my right hand (not shown) to pull. I alternate between running my thumb down the right and left sides of the handle to accomplish this effect. I keep pulling until I have attained the thickness (or thiness) that desire. Finding what works for you will take some time and practice.


After getting the long handle right I pinch off short handle stubs and lay them out. These stubbs are alter attached to the mug and pulled more so they don’t have to be long. The way these are pulled they taper slightly from top to bottom. Make note of this.


Using a cerrated rib or some such tool I score the clay where I want to attach the handle to the mug. Next the scored clay is dampened with thin slip or water.


I then pick up the handle stub and dampen the bottom (or thinner end) and press it into the scored and dampened clay with a wiggling motin until it feels attached. You will feel it attaching and becoming one piece of clay.


Gripping the handle stub near its attachment to the mug I squeeze and press it into the mug making the attachment more sure. This motion should cause the handle to thicken a little toward that attachment as you see here.


After dipping my free hand in water for lubrication I start pulling the handle with a FEW quick strokes that begin very near the attachment. I am looking for a handle that thickens slightly at the point of attachment and taper away from there. I don’t want the handle too thick or thin. Again, practice will tell what that looks and feels like.


As I return the mug to a vertical position I dampen the side of the mug where I expect to attach the bottom of the handle and make that attachment.


The excess tail of the handle is cut away with a needle tool and the handle is smoothed in place.


Here are a couple of finished mugs with handles. It takes a while to hit the proportions right. Be aware of how this mug will fit in the hand. It is easy to get too much handle. Decide if you wanat a one, two or three finger handle. It is better to err on the small side, I think.

handles11.jpgPractice a lot before you start keeping mugs for firing. There are already enough bad mugs in the world. It is like my early teacher Andy Watson used to say: “The good Lord spent four billion years getting that clay to this point, don’t do something in the next five minutes that will mess that up.”
A great idea for practicing is to take a glass or plastic cylinder and attach handles to it over and over again until it comes easily.

Today’s Music: “Lay it Down” Cowboy Junkies

Today’s Quote: “Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has
no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the
unbending; the soft can overcome the hard.” - Lao Tse