Gesture and Form with Nick Joerling

In this installment of the Ceramic Arts Daily Presents video series, Nick Joerling shares his techniques for combining handbuilding and wheel throwing to make his signature animated pottery. Enamored with marks and gestures...(Scroll for more.)

$47.97 — $52.97

Runtime: 2 hours 18 minutes

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…that can only be made on a spinning wheel, Nick begins the video — as well as most of his work — on the potters wheel. He then switches to the table top so he can stretch the clay further into forms that are imbued with sensuality, life, and humor. In addition, he explains his glazing and decorating process and shares glaze recipes in the bonus features. Along the way, he shares tips, techniques,  as well as aesthetic insights for creating functional pottery that engages the imagination.

Pots with Personality

Largely self taught, Nick Joerling draws his cues from the human body, creating curves, movement, and energy that just emanates from the forms. Beginning on the wheel, Nick creates distinctly wheel thrown marks with an eye toward stretching them and filling them with more life during the handbuilding stage. Stressing that there’s a thin line between animated and “cute,” Nick explains his aesthetic choices throughout.

Simple Tools, Endless Possibilities

Nick developed his signature style by grabbing whatever tools he had at hand – from masonite scraps to simple metal ribs – and playing with them to discover the marks hidden within. As he puts it “there’s a whole world to discover” in the simplest tools. You’ll find it refreshing to know that nothing is off limits when it comes to making marks in clay.

Nothing Overlooked

From the tiniest mark on the foot of a piece, to the exaggerated curves on the stem of a vase, Nick explains that nothing should be overlooked. If each element can stand on its own as an interesting object, the more successful the piece. Enjoying the notion that a piece should have places “where your imagination can go,” Nick creates cut outs, burrows and folds to serve that purpose.

Some skills you’ll pick up…

  • throwing structurally sound bottomless forms to be stretched dramatically on the table top
  • using a variety of basic tools to make interesting marks in clay
  • altering and assembling thrown parts into complex objects
  • creating a recessed slab foot to allow for an extra glazing surface
  • making gestural wax resist brush decoration
  • using gravity to vary glaze surface

and much much more!

About the Artist

Nick Joerling is a full-time studio potter who has maintained a studio in Penland, North Carolina since the mid-1980s. He received a B.A. in History from the University of Dayton, Ohio, and an M.F.A. in Ceramics from Louisiana State University in 1986. He has taught in craft programs in the United States and abroad, been widely reviewed and exhibited, and is represented in public and private collections. To learn more about Nick Joerling, please visit



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