Altering Surface & Form with Gay Smith

In this installment of the Ceramic Arts Daily Video Series, Gertrude Graham (nicknamed Gay) Smith shares the ways she works with freshly thrown pots to alter surface and form. Enamored with the tactile and responsive nature of clay, Gay chooses to make alterations on her pots immediately after they are thrown to create ...(Scroll for more).

$47.97 — $52.97

Runtime: approximately 2 hours 10 minutes

Sneak a peek!

Purchased downloads are available to download for three days. Video files are compatible with Quicktime Player, Windows Media Player, and most other current video players. They are delivered as zip files containing the video files, and they require a broadband Internet connection to download (at 4 Mbps, this file can take 30–45 minutes to download.). Do not attempt with a dial-up connection.

…energetic and spontaneous marks. In this program, she shows a number of different ways to alter fresh surfaces, as well as how to enhance those marks in the trimming and finishing of several pieces. In addition she covers her considerations of form and how to make the pieces more utilitarian. If you find yourself in love with the nature of freshly thrown clay and want to learn to successfully capture it in your work, this video is for you!

Warming up to fresh altering

Gay begins by throwing tea bowls off the hump and demonstrating various ways of faceting and fluting using simple tools that most potters have in their toolboxes already. Throwing simple cups or tea bowls off the hump is a great way to practice these techniques because it is quick and there is relatively low investment in each piece. So when you mess up – and you will mess up at first – you are not heartbroken.

Utilitarian considerations

She moves on to create some some stacking tumblers, which she alters by impressing with stamps. An avid pottery collector (as most of us are) Gay was thinking about how to maximize her storage space so she could keep adding more pots to her collection. So she started creating forms that stack nicely so her collectors wouldn’t have the storage challenge! Gay gives details on how she carefully designs and measures these pieces to stack well inside one another interchangeably.

Signature Pieces

Next, Gay demonstrates several of her signature “dancing” forms from start to finish, explaining how she trims and cuts feet and attaches handles. Ever needed to pull large handles? Gay shares her clever way of making large handles with two-handed pulling. Finally, she explains how she enhances these decorations by applying slip decoration leather-hard pots, which are then single fired in a soda kiln.

Freshen up your work!

All throughout this video, Gay discusses advantages to using these techniques–which are usually reserved for leather-hard pots–on freshly thrown pots. If you are interested in creating pots that are lively and spontaneous, this video will be a great source of inspiration!

Bonus Features!

Two bonus videos are included, as well as glaze and slip recipes and a gallery of finished work.

About the Artist

Gertrude Graham (Gay) Smith is a studio potter living and working near Penland, North Carolina. Gay studied ceramics at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the University of Oregon and has been an artist-in-residence at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts and Penland School of Crafts. Her teaching credits include workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Penland, the Harvard Ceramics Studio, and the Findhorn Foundation in Northern Scotland. Her work is represented internationally, and is in many collections including the Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina and Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taiwan. Gay’s work has been featured in Ceramics Monthly magazine and in numerous publications including Making Marks and Functional Pottery by Robin Hopper. To learn more about Gay Smith or see more images of her work, please visit,

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

Larger version of the image