A New Twist on Fluted Pottery

Create an Interesting Fluted Pottery Surface During the Throwing Stage

fluted pottery

Fluted pottery (which gets its name from fluting in architecture) is pottery that has a groove or set of grooves forming a decoration on its surface. Fluting is often done with a loop tool at the leather hard stage, and typically the grooves are a concave u-shape, whereas its cousin “faceting” features flat plains cut into the pot by a wire or a knife. This can be done at the freshly thrown stage or the leather hard stage.

One of the surface techniques Doug Peltzman demonstrates in today’s excerpt from his new video Variations on Volume: How to Find Your Voice through Curiosity and Play, is sort of a hybrid of faceted and fluted pottery. In this video, Doug shows how to turn a simple cylinder into a showpiece mug by adding a band with a homemade tool and what Doug calls his “vertical blind texture” with repurposed tools. Check it out! – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.


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This clip was excerpted from Variations on Volume: How to Find Your Voice through Curiosity and Play, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Network Shop, or for streaming on CLAYflicks.

Doug Peltzman is a studio potter living in Shokan, New York. To learn more about him or see images if his work, please visit dougpeltzmanpottery.com.


More on Faceting

by Hank Murrow

Faceting a pot—slicing clay from the form using a fettling knife, wire tool, or sometimes a Surform tool—is usually done at the leather-hard stage. Several years ago I saw Joe Bennion facet bowls while they were still wet—just after the initial form was created then continue to throw to create a stretched facet. Through experimentation, I created my own version of this process, as well as a wire tool with interchangeable wires to achieve different surface effects. Here’s the method I use.

fluted pottery

Process To make a faceted bowl, begin with 2¹⁄₂ pounds of clay and open the form like a bowl, ribbing the bottom so you don’t have to trim too much clay later (figure 1). The bowl is kept to a cylindrical shape, keeping the wall thickness to about a ¹⁄₂ inch or a little more. I rib the inside as well to eliminate finger marks (figure 2), and then give the rim a beveled profile with my chamois or rib (figure 3).

The first cut with the wire tool trims away about a third of the wall and is cut parallel to the wall profile (figure 4). Turn the wheel 180° and make the second cut, then 90° for the third cut and another 180° for the fourth. Cut the facets between the first four cuts (figure 5) and smooth the edges with a wet finger.

fluted pottery

Use a dull wooden rib and dry fingers to open the bowl, stretching the wire cuts and dropping the rim (figure 6). It takes about three passes to develop a full bowl shape. When the bowl has half-dried, turn it over and place on a sheet of foam rubber to protect the rim. When ready to trim, place the bowl on a damp clay chuck and use a small piece of plastic as a bearing surface for the finger while trimming the outside (figure 7). Follow by trimming the inside and finishing the foot with the chamois.

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