5 Expert Tips for Making Soft Slab Pottery

The one and only Lisa Naples shares some great slab pottery tricks!

slab pottery

Lisa Naples is a consummate teacher with a gift for explaining how her hands manipulate the clay. That’s why she makes working with soft slab pottery look so easy. If you have ever tried working with softer slabs, you know if it more difficult than the experts make it look. 

In today’s clip, an excerpt from her video Flat to Functional: Handbuilding and Slip Decorating, I’ve gathered five particularly good little nuggets from the video to help improve your success with soft slab pottery!  – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.


Five Great Handbuilding Techniques and Tools

Pick up variations on classic handbuilding techniques when you download this freebieFive Great Handbuilding Techniques and Tools.




slab potteryThis video was excerpted from Flat to Functional: Handbuilding and Slip Decorating, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Network Shop.

To learn more about Lisa Naples or to see more images of her work, please visit www.lisanaples.com.

More on Soft Slab Pottery

If you have caught the slab pottery bug, you’ve come to the right place for inspiration! To get you started, check out this article by Daryl Baird on using slump molds with soft slabs! Liz Zlot Summerfield is also an excellent resource for slab building techniques. Birdie Boone works with super thin slabs to make her ultra light slab pottery. Check out this video on how to use a slump mold to make a platter as an example. If you have trouble controlling your soft slabs when hand building, you could try Lisa Pedolsky’s technique of using tar paper as a support. This technique enables Lisa to work on her forms at various stages of dryness and get great results. There’s more than one way to work with slabs. Try various techniques for your slab pottery and find the one that works for you!

Do you have a favorite soft slab building technique that you like to use? Add your technique to the comments below!

**First published in 2014.
Comments
  • Gillian W.

    May I ask what clay you use? And if you use both earthenware and stoneware, which in each category please?

  • Lisa N.

    For anyone interested, I posted all the recipes I use (clay, glaze and slip) to my website today: http://www.lisanaples.com/ceramics/category/recipes/ Just click on the ‘read more’ buttons to see them displayed vertically. And subscribe to the e-news on the home page if you want to be kept up to date on any changes to recipes or news from my studio in general.

  • Christiane W.

    Absolutely brilliant, thank you very much for sharing this! Christiane (Australia)

  • Peter S.

    Lisa; after decades of doing pottery I seldom see anything new, but your style and technique is a welcome experience. I especially respond to use of slip and score for every occassion. When slip/score is needed I use slip made from bone dry clay, a little paper fiber and vinegar. It dries more slowly.
    Thanks for an interesting and informative video.

  • Peter S.

    Lisa; after decades of doing pottery I seldom see anything new, but your style and technique is a welcome experience. I especially respond to use of slip and score for every occassion. When slip/score is needed I use slip made from bond dry clay, a little paper fiber and vinegar. It dries more slowly.
    Thanks for an interesting and informative video.

  • Lisa N.

    Hi Everyone and thanks so much for your lovely comments. Really just fills me up to read them and feel the connection to you all.

  • Barbara M.

    Lisa, You have a great teaching style. Just as questions were forming in my head, you were already answering them accompanied by very helpful “out of the pot” demonstrations. I generally wheel throw, but you’ve inspired me to try some hand building. Thanks. Barbara

  • Mary H.

    This was SO helpful! Thank you for sharing. I love how the base slab you attached slumped slightly – and the beautiful glaze decoration shown underneath in the finished photos. Gorgeous!

  • rogerio d.

    Hi Lisa, really great technic, but most of all great explanation. I must say that as a non english native speaker I understood all you said with great pleasure, nothing was too much, patronizing or boring.
    Thanks

  • Sherry M.

    Great instructional video. Loved how you demonstrated the different techniques separate from building the pot, so that we can see what’s actually going on. Thanks!

  • Jann L.

    Potter folks, Lisa Naples is a superb teacher. She’ll make you fall in love with clay again. You will love this DVD and if you can make one of her workshops, do so! Great Job, Lisa!!!!!

  • Peter A D.

    Lisa, Great video! I like the slightly overlapped cylinder wall connection. Will send this video to my students. Peter

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Enter Your Log In Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

Larger version of the image

Send this to a friend