Handbuilding Video: How to Make a Textured Tripod Pot with Soft Slabs

What I love about this DVD is that Sandi presents a wide variety of techniques that can be mixed and matched and turned into an endless variety of forms. Her message to viewers is to always ask the question “what if I try this?” when creating with clay. If you’ve been stuck in the studio lately, this DVD will give you enough great ideas to become unstuck and stay unstuck for quite a while. In today’s excerpt, Sandi demonstrates making a tripod pot, a simple, yet elegant, vessel. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.



Order your copy of What If? Explorations with Texture and Soft Slabs with Sandi Pierantozzi today in the Ceramic Arts Network Shop! 

To learn more about Sandi and see images of her finished work, please visit http://sandiandneil.com

**First published in 2013

  • Elizabeth F.

    Thank you Sandy!

  • Sandi P.

    Hi Lisa,

    I am happy you found the DVD “What If” helpful to you. Using a good all-purpose clay body works well. You can also use porcelain for these techniques, but if you have a good throwing body, as long as it does not have heavy grog, you should be able to use all of the techniques.

  • Elizabeth F.

    sorry, that was the automatic spell checker at work again! I meant grogged, not gorged!

  • Elizabeth F.

    Dear Sandy, the video is brilliant. I really enjoyed it. Can you advise on what sort of clay to use.
    Is it normal “throwing” clay or is it slightly gorged for stability?

  • Alison T.

    Thank you for this inspiring and very informative tutorial. I am a relative novice and am constantly in awe of the creativity and ingenuity of the ceramic artists both in my immediate vicinity (in the studio) and beyond.

  • I think that the editing and camera work could have been better in this dvd. There were times when I could not see what she was doing with her hands because I could not see through her hand, shot from the wrong angle. Also, at times, the camera was showing a long shot, while she was explaining an intricate technique, which is what I was looking for. Sandi is great and has a lot of wonderful ideas which I appreciate getting from this video. However, I think even more could have been gained with better editing and filming.

  • Carmillia K.

    Your video is wonderful. I have pent the day looking for “found” texture. The gutter shield is ideal. Would hardware cloth work too?

  • I have been searching for a show & tell video all week for making tripod feet!! thank you Ceramic Daily !!!!

  • Sandi P.

    The template size is 10 1/2″ x 4 1/2″, but keep in mind that it is just a rectangle and it is wise to try different sizes to allow for your clay shrinkage. Sandi P.

  • Rebekah N.

    Just curious, what is the size of the template being used? These pots are great, I would like to try it.

  • Inspiring and very informative! I love your gentle technique Sandi, and I am looking forward very much to making my own version of this in my next class!
    Thankyou for sharing :o)xx

  • Lynne M.

    Wonderful, thank you so much. I have been using Pam and it does leave the clay moist and sticky…often a problem. Will be trying cornstarch. Great explanations. Also appreciate the idea about putting a little something to fill the center hole. In the past I’ve worked it too hard and botched up my feel. Thank you for sharing.

  • Laureen P.

    As a high school teacher I am always looking for lessons for my students that will give them a positive end result. I can’t wait to try this with my grade 10’s.

  • It’s very nice .. I love it .. so useful(Thanks a lot )

  • I suggest cornstarch as the release agent because there are no negative health issues associated with using it. Feldspar is a glaze material and it is recommended that a mask be worn when using powdered glaze materials, since it is not healthy to be breathing the particles that escape into the air. I suppose if the feldspar release is only used once in a while it would be okay, but my needs are for daily use so I choose the cornstarch. I have seen folks put cornstarch in a sock and that is also a good idea. Sandi Pierantozzi

  • Feldspar is also a good release agent for templates and also for press molds. A little shake or pat of feldspar in an old sock tied shut in a knot does the trick,

  • To answer the question about the seam: I do not try to smooth the seams on my pots. I like that the seam is surface information about the process. I try to keep my hands clean and dry when I work, and seal the seam carefully so as not to disturb the texture.

    To answer the question about filling in the feet: I make a small coil and make a point at one end of it. Then I push the point down into the fold of each foot, and smooth the rest of the coil along the seam of the fold toward the center of the pot, pulling out any excess clay that is not needed. I have never had any problems with feet blowing up because of air bubbles. Thank you all for your time in posting comments about this video. I hope these answers are helpful. Sandi Pierantozzi, Philadelphia, PA

  • This video was very interesting. I went to Home Depot yesterday and bought the gutter mesh and then the cornstarch. I will try this today in class. Everyone in my class subscribes to Ceramic Arts Daily and my teacher loves it when I bring in new things to try.

  • Subscriber T.

    What a super way to make an extraordinary cup. I am calling from Denmark and enjoying the videos every time. Birgit Marie Kjaer

  • Allison T.

    Love, love, love it!! 😀 I can see a whole raft of these with different textures and glazes.
    Thanks for sharing!
    PS:Ceramic arts daily is “da bomb”!

  • Well, I liked your idea of the drain wire that you used after the corn starch. Going now to get me some at Home Depot. Thanks alot

  • Deborah H.

    I too would like to know how you avoid trapping air when adding the clay to the foot interiors. Great video and a great way to use wheel thrown cylinders. I’ve been told the best way to practice wheel throwing is to make cylinder after cylinder after cylinder…..ad nauseum. Being a purpose driven artist I’m not able to make things just to be thrown into the recycled clay bag. Now those cylinders can have a reason for being AND I get to do BOTH wheel and handbuilding at the same time instead of one or the other. How cool is that!! 🙂

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU !!!!!!

  • Beautiful…any tips on how to get rid of the seam line, or the joint on the slab without disturbing the pattern…
    shall try this at the earliest…

  • This was a great technique to watch. I loved how the pot ‘came to life’ and gained it’s own character.

  • Louise R.

    I am so glad that I found this website, and this video …I want to make that exact pot! Sandi, you must have a very gentle touch to not destroy the pattern with your left hand while pushing out with the right. Thanks for the inspiration.
    (At my pottery studio, everone uses Pam but it is slippery and the clay moves in the mould. I’m going to try corn starch. We are not permitted to use WD40 because someone had an anaphylactic reaction to it a few years ago.)

  • Darryl W.

    How are air pockets avoided in the feet? She didn’t show detail of that and seems it would be very time consuming to fill them completely solid.

  • Michael D.

    I am a High School Art Teacher…I really enjoy all of your videos…Thank You on behalf of my students and myself …great job

  • Thank you Sandy, it is great idea and simple.

  • Mary Jo B.

    this is terrific. my students will love it especially if i have them make 4 each! I had seen this method of making the tripod but had forgotten the little extra ball to close securly.

  • thank you for sharing the whole idea, from the tripod shape to the wonderful full-bodied feel of the cup. Your surface decorations are wonderful. You are also very patient explaining your technique. Cannot wait to try out the tripod feet!!! Thank you again..

  • The tripod is the most stable form. For a few years I’ve been throwing large tripods (12″ to 16″ in height, roughly the same diameter) for garden vessels, with the feet open to allow water drainage. This is a good variation on the theme.

  • Elizabeth H.

    Terrific. I can’t want to get my slab roller going. Thank you so much for your wonderful inspiration.

  • What a great idea. How do you manage to seal the container along the side without destroying the decoration on it?. Thanks

  • Meaghan K.

    How do you clean up the exterior seam of the cup?

  • thank you. thank you thank you.i always had problems with the small hole left after pinching the triangle and while trying to close the hole i often had cracks. now the whole thing becomes so simple and so smart.

  • Jharnetty@ceramics.org H.

    Regina – I have used WD 40 for this purpose and it does burn off, but it is stinky and kind of messy. Vegetable oil can be used too, but I assume it would be a bit messy too. That’s why I like the corn starch method much better. – ed.

  • Madeleine S.

    Thank you for sharing this technique. It can be used in lots of applications and I’m definitely trying it soon.

  • Regina B.

    I can’t wait to try this. Could vegetable spray or WD-40 be used to keep the pattern from sticking to the clay instead of corn starch? I’ve heard this would burn off in the bisque firing. Has anyone used these oil based products on clay and does it really burn off?

  • Cheryl M.

    great technique thank you, can’t wait to try it on larger pieces

  • Neat :o) I can’t wait to try this with my tea bowls

  • This is a great method for making a 3 footed pot either with wheel or hand built pieces. I couldn’t open the screen fully as I usually can.

  • Such a pleasant shape!! I can imagine drinking hot chocolate out of this on a cold winter day! Thanks for sharing this!

  • I was just about to explain that about the grocery bag. I thought she was going to use it to smooth the inside too, until I realized she was using it for the “selective drying” technique to allow the feet to stiffen up while keeping the body moist. This was a fun and informative video. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jharnetty@ceramics.org H.

    Oops! Sorry for the confusion on the plastic bag. She explains it in another part of the DVD so I had cut it out of this section. She wrapped the top part of the pot (not the feet) with a grocery bag. Then the piece sat up for a while and the feet were able to dry out while the top wrapped part was kept soft and pliable. This way the feet could support the pot while she was stretching out the top part. Sandi calls this “selective drying.” -ed.

  • Claire K.

    Thank you Sandy. I especially liked the suggestion to fill the feet. It makes the piece so much more practical

  • Fabulous idea…….just a tiny thing, I missed what happened with the grocery bag. Is it kept inside when pushing out the walls to prevent friction and possibly support? Or, does it belong to another project on the DVD?

    Regardless, thank you once again for the enlightenment.

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