How to Dress Up a Wheel Thrown Cup with Inlaid Sprigs

Making custom sprigs for pottery!

Inlaid Sprigs

If you are a potter, chances are you are familiar with the terms “throwing and altering,” and can conjure up images of thrown-and-altered work. But the technique I am sharing in today’s video might be a little less familiar.

In this post, an excerpt from her video Function and Adornment: Handbuilding Functional & Decorative Forms, Kate Maury shows you her take on throwing and altering—cutting out little windows in a thrown form and filling them with textured inlaid sprigs. Such a great idea! – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

Five Great Pottery Wheel Throwing Techniques

Amp up your throwing skills when you download this freebieFive Great Pottery Wheel Throwing Techniques.

This clip was excerpted from Function and Adornment: Handbuilding Functional & Decorative Forms, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Network Shop!

Inlaid SprigsTo learn more about Kate Maury or to see more images of her work, please visit

How to Use a Sprig Mold for Clay

by Frederick Bartolovic

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Using press molds to make small objects that are then applied to the surface of a piece is a method that is simple and quick. First you must either obtain or make a one piece plaster mold with small imagery you desire on your form.

Choose a clay body with no grog additions and press this clay into your plaster mold. After the clay sits in the mold for a few minutes it should quickly firm up and you should be able to remove your object. Place this in a plastic storage container so it doesn’t dry out.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Inlaid Sprig Molded Forms

Inlaying sprig molded forms necessitates you build your primary form through slab construction. Using two different colored clay bodies which mature at similar temperatures creates the most striking results. This allows you to create contrasting light colored objects inlaid into a dark clay slab or vice versa.

Choose two different colored clay bodies which mature at the same temperature. Stonewares or earthenwares work great for this technique. One of the bodies will be pressed into the plaster sprig molds and the other will be rolled into slabs.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Follow the sprig molded imagery directions above to accumulate objects in a plastic storage container. Allow the sprig molded forms to dry to a firm leather hard consistency.

Roll slabs with the other clay body. The slabs may need to set up a short while but you want them fairly wet for use.

Take your leather hard sprig molded objects and place them upside down on a non-stick work surface, They can be laid out randomly or in a pattern

Place your still wet slab over your leather hard objects and re-roll the slab. This will inlay the objects into the slab. Allow your slabs to dry to the desired consistency. Build your form with your inlaid slabs.

NOTE: When using two different clay bodies, do a test piece first to make sure the clays shrink at similar rates and dry very slowly to prevent cracking!

**First published in 2015.

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