Many potters use templates for slab building so they can make a form consistently over and over. Nancy Zoller came … Read More
Handbuilding is an ancient pottery-making technique that involves creating forms without a pottery wheel, using the hands, fingers, and simple tools. The most common handbuilding techniques are pinch pottery, coil building, and slab building.
To make a pinch pot, one inserts a thumb into a ball of clay and continually pinches the the clay between the thumb and fingers while rotating to thin out and raise the height of the vessel. Pinching can deliver a pleasingly organic look, but can also yield beautiful, refined results.
Coil building is a forming method that uses ropelike coils of plastic clay, assembled in successive courses to build up wall of vessel or sculpture.
The slab technique starts with smooth slabs of clay that are then formed around molds or shaped by hand. Although it can be used to create many of the same shapes that are achievable on a wheel, slab building also allows the potter to create more angular shapes that are more challenging to make on a wheel.
All handbuilding techniques can be used on one piece, such as using a slab to form the sides of a vessel, and then using coils and pinching to create an interesting rim or handles. Handbuilding techniques can also be used to alter and enhance a form thrown on a wheel.
Handbuilding techniques allow for a wide range of creativity. Here, we’ll share with you some of the most inventive handbuilt work out there and give step-by-step instruction from the artists making it. Peruse through our archive of articles and videos on handbuilding techniques, whether you want to brush up on a process or start off in a new direction. And, if you haven’t already, be sure download your free copy of our Five Great Handbuilding Techniques: How to Make Pottery Using the Pinch, Coil and Slab Methods for some handbuilding project ideas!
Jeremy Wallace used to throw and carve his textured pots, but he discovered that slab building them in layers gave … Read More
Pottery Video of the Week: Making Interesting Cup Shapes by Combining Bisque Molded and Wheel-Thrown Parts
In this clip, Deb Schwartzkopf demonstrates how she makes the super cool bottoms of her cup forms with a slab … Read More
I’ve been making a lot of bowls lately, but I am feeling like I need to change things up with … Read More
I have been really into handbuilding and red earthenware lately – in particular, using hump and slump molds to create … Read More
There have been many times in my pottery-making days when I have wished I had an extra hand (or two!). … Read More
Brice Dyer’s family has always valued special occasions – using the fancy china and candles for those special dinners. The … Read More