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Published May 27, 2024

Most potters throw their pots with a little extra clay at the bottom and trim a foot ring into them. But sometimes it can be nice to switch things up. I have seen potters add feet to thrown forms, but I haven't seen anyone do it like Sarah Anderson.

In today's post, an excerpt from the Ceramics Monthly archive, Sarah shows us how she pulls feet similar to how one would pull a handle. The result fits her quirky narrative mugs perfectly! –Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor

Building the Form

When I begin making a sewer-rat vessel, I start with throwing the form on the wheel, creating a cylinder shape using a little over a pound of clay. My favorite tool to use has to be the metal rib. I like to leave a small indentation at the top of the mug, splitting up the proportions. The metal rib makes it easy to create that precise line. Then, I flare out the bottom of the mug with a right-angled wooden tool, and smooth that edge out with a sponge. After this, take the right-angled wooden tool to make four equal creases all the way around the cylinder (1). Once this reaches leather hard, I trim away a small circle in the middle where I carve my name and leave enough room on the sides to start adding feet. 

1 Throw a form with volume, then use a rib tool to create a dividing line. 2 Add feet to the bottom of the form and pull them like small handles.

3 Cut excess clay from the feet, then check that the mug sits evenly and is level.In my surface design, personifying and adding a relatable personality to everything is my goal. I’m excited to incorporate more sculptural elements into my work, and I’ve started with the addition of clay feet. I tried a few iterations of this, and ended with these small pulled feet that would create the smoothest transition from the pot to the table surface.

Start with three small and equally sized balls of clay. Adjust the size depending on the thickness you want the feet to end up being. After slipping and scoring these into place at equal distances from each other, smooth them into the base of the mug. After adding a small amount of water, I use my thumb, index finger, and middle finger to evenly pull up the clay into a point (2). Once all three are pulled to the same thickness, use a metal rib to slice off the pointed part (3). 

To see how Sarah adds sculptural elements and her narrative decoration, check out the October 2022 issue of Ceramics Monthly!

**First published in 2022.