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. You’ll discover a multitude of tricks for building with your hands after watching our handbuilding videos.
Making a clay pot with slabs has never been easier with the help of Liz Zlot Summerfield’s expert advice. She explains how to develop interesting forms using soft slabs. 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. Deb Schwartzkopf offers construction methods for throwing and handbuilding components to create unique, expressive shapes in clay.
Neil Patterson provides an introduction to working with a basic pinch pot to form more complex projects. To make a pinch pot, one inserts a thumb into a ball of clay and continually pinches 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.
Building coil pots with small bisque molds is one of Kari Radasch’s streamlined way to make the most of her studio time. Coil building is a forming method that uses rope-like coils of plastic clay, assembled in successive courses to build up wall of vessel or sculpture.
With a plethora of techniques, our handbuilding videos guide you on your journey to making pots without the aid of a potter’s wheel. With the wide range of techniques available, and the step-by-step instructions from our Presenters, you’ll be able to brush up on a process or start off in a new direction.