Handbuilding Techniques

If you enjoy handbuilding, then Handbuilding Techniques is one book you’ll definitely want in your collection. This Ceramic Arts Handbook brings together the most creative techniques, tips, and projects from dozens of experts published in Pottery Making Illustrated and Ceramics Monthly. Illustrated with hundreds of...(Scroll for more!)

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Softcover | 136 Pages
Order code B149 | ISBN 978-1-57498-347-0


…step-by-step images, Handbuilding Techniques gives you all the how-to information you need to explore new methods and expand your skills. Written for intermediate to advanced potters, this book promises to move you into an exciting world of inspired creativity.

Pinch and Coil Techniques

Pinching and coiling have been around since our ancient ancestors first learned that clay could be formed and fired. Ron Korcynski brings pinching a pot into the 21st century with his take of making simple yet elegant teapots, and Emily Willis and Cheryl Malone create larger pieces that present a coiling challenge. If you’re looking for a way to make really large pieces, Karen Terpstra demonstrates her flat coil method for making large jars in the Korean tradition.

Plates and Platters

When it comes to working with slabs, nothing is simpler than the plate—just a slab. But with a little creativity, the simple slab can be much more. For example, Liz Zlot Summerfield claims the foot is the weakest link in a slab plate because it’s often uneven, off center, and unconvincing. Her technique for creating a well-designed foot solves the problem. If you’re looking for a way to make many plates quickly, you’ll want to try Amanda Wilton-Green’s technique using an everyday item found in most kitchens. Russel Fouts, frustrated by plate rims that sagged, tackles the problem with his plate rings, and Mark Cole adds a three dimensional component to his platters with a built-up rim.

Slab Construction

Constructing pots with soft slabs allows you to create pieces not possible with any other forming technique. Liz Zlot Summerfield and Margaret Bohls show you how to get that soft pillowy effect with slabs that makes you want to hold and caress a form. Their detailed instructions will give you insights on how you can create a range of forms using their tried-and-true techniques. Elizabeth Kendall takes on the challenge of using soft slabs to create tall slender pitchers without collapsing; and Nancy Zoller tackles decorating her work during construction using bisque-molded slabs. If you want to build bigger pieces with soft slabs, Jonathan Kaplan tells how Lisa Pedolsky uses tarpaper as a support system for her large architectural-like forms.

Using Templates

Templates are a way to create handbuilt pieces in a series with consistent results. Jay Jensen creates his templates using a computer-aided design (CAD) program not only for his forms but for his surface decoration as well (see Surface Decoration Techniques). For a more traditional approach, Annie Chrietzberg uses Sandi Pierantozzi technique of using templates in her soft-slab textured cups and handles, but also finds that using tart tins from a kitchen store makes for a no-hassle template that makes it simple to make make nesting bowls. And if you’re in any way math-challenged, Don Hall shows you how to create a hexagonal template that can be used for a wide range of six-sided projects

Using Molds

Molds are a great way to enhance your handbuilt pieces. You can add curved surfaces to the bottom or sides of a form by using Brenda Quinn’s, Ben Carter’s or Joe Singewald’s slumping techniques; or you can repeat curved elements using Deborah Schwartzkopf’s method for combining molded parts to create elegant forms. The molds can be simple and made with little effort—craved from blocks of Styrofoam, made from plastic soda bottles, or created from clay and bisque fired—so there’s no slowing down your desire to get started. And if you’re up for a challenge, Kate Maury has the ultimate molded clay project—using sprig molds to construct ornate candelabras built up from dozens of molded components

Advanced Techniques

Many clay lovers spend all their time in clay doing handbuilding because there’s no end to the possibilities and challenges. For example, Birdie Boone considered the needs of the humble monk in her pursuit of creating a belly-bottomed dish, and Allison Hermans explores the Art Nouveau style to create her elegant vases. Courtney Murphy spent years working in porcelain before switching to earthenware so she could construct larger pieces, and Marion Peters enjoys the many possibilities of combining textures and slabs making vases and wine stems. Kristin Pavelka even took her love of thrifting and thoughts of the environment to add colorful clay handles to old kitchen utensils.

Handbuilding has so much to offer, you won’t want to stop once you get started. Whether you’re a full-time professional, a teacher, or someone who just loves to play with clay, you’ll find there’s no barrier to tackling any of the handbuilding projects in this book. With simple tools and a bag of clay, you’ll find the range of what you can create is only limited by your imagination.

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