Pieces & Patterns with Deb Schwartzkopf

In this DVD, Deborah Schwartzkopf presents functional vessels made using a variety of construction techniques. She offers many different examples of working with clay that will enrich your skills whether you’re a handbuilder...(Scroll for more.)

$47.97 — $52.97

Runtime: Approximately 2 hours

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.

“It’s wonderful to have such a comprehensive workshop on a DVD. I’ve watched it several times and will refer back to it again and again. I love the way she combines throwing with handbuilding. Would absolutely recommend this to anyone working on combining these disciplines.” — H.W., Oregon

..or thrower. She describes and demonstrates the construction methods for making non-round, expressive shapes in clay by altering thrown forms and using patterned and molded slabs. By laying aside your preconceived notions of what a mug or bowl or any form usually looks like, you’ll be able to embrace the unknown and come up with new and compelling forms. Original List Price: $69.97

Pieces and patterns

Deborah’s technique is to construct elegant forms from pieces of clay that have been thrown and handbuilt. Originally, her process was complicated, but over the years she streamlined every step and demonstrates her method in an easy-to-follow sequence. You can choose to work each project from beginning to end, or just select the parts you enjoy and work with those. There are so many innovative techniques here you may have trouble deciding which ones to try first.

Energizing your work

The amazing thing about Deborah’s work is the energy each piece has. A bowl may be just a bowl, but when you throw and alter part of it and add additional thrown parts to form the rim, you’ve injected an energy into it that draws attention. Each project — bowl, cup, teapot, pitcher — all take on a whole new meaning. These everyday objects are elevated to higher levels that reflect an artistic intention, and using Deborah’s techniques can open up a whole new world of creativity in your own work.

“This is one of the best dvds I’ve seen, Deborah is awesome. I love that it’s a starting point and opens up so many possibilities.” — Deb M., Washington State
“I had seen a short demo by Deborah Schwartzkopf, and wanted a more in-depth instruction – your well-produced DVD was perfect!” — Ellen, New Jersey

Innovative molds

If you’ve ever used slump or hump molds, you know the limitations you have with a basic form. Deborah takes a different approach and shows you how to create your own molds from clay either by throwing or handbuilding them. The advantage to this technique is that you can use these molds while they’re leather hard and tweak them, then bisque fire them when you’re satisfied with the final form. She then demonstrates effective ways to use these molds with simple patterns made from paper.

Contour, line and form

One of the major features of watching Deborah work is how she approaches each form as an artist. Moving from the base to the top of a form, she’s constantly thinking about lines, curves, and shapes. How a simple teapot or dessert bowl can be transformed into an elegant work using a set of “building blocks” unfolds artfully before your eyes. You’ll learn dozens of tips and techniques about throwing, handbuilding, seams, darts, trimming, patterns, altered forms, handles, and more.

“I have watched Deborah for years and careful thought went into the purchase. The content was above expectations.” — Dawn, Ontario
“Loving it and quite inspiring.” — Caroline, Australia

A few words from Deborah Schwartzkopf

I find it rewarding and challenging to make pots people will use. In my home growing up, hand made objects held special value. They were gestures of consideration and love. I continue to find objects a dwelling place for intention and association. The parameter of function both limits and frees me. It gives me direction and attaches me to community. Eating with family and friends instills a sense of place and relation. At the table I assess finished work and connect studio practice to living. This starts the cycle of making again. I want my pots to live in the kitchen where economy and celebration infuse life with purposeful beauty.

The processes I use yield complex forms defined by animated lines and soft planes. Multiple parts are pieced together. At times I combine wheel thrown and hand built parts. At others a singular method is used. The slab parts are patterned and laid over bisqued clay molds. I build these molds with reclaimed clay and shape them with the wheel or by coiling building. I find they give me the ability to make slab pieces with consistent volume. When I first approached hand building I had complicated patterns for every shape. Over time I have simplified patterns. With practice the process has become nimble and intuitive. This is freeing to me. Simple patterns are easier to augment and develop into new forms. I find refinement like a glacier moving down a valley: troublesome areas are meditatively eroded away and new ideas spring to mind. Slow practice yields fluidity in process, allowing me to shift focus to formal elements, intentional references, and how a pot will feel or fit into life.

Pots are a place where I embrace abstraction of emotions and communication in form. Birds are starting places in my study of stance and expression. I want to capture their expressions of precision and breath. The awkward pelican and elegant, buoyant loon embody curious shapes I mesh with geometric, sensual, and architectural elements. On the surfaces of my work, I merge our culture’s signals and nature’s placement of hue. Even in the Seattle winter, humming birds flash and scoot for nectar from my rosemary bush. Traffic lights illuminate the night, demanding attention as I bike through the city. With intentional placement, these visual messages imply function, trigger associations, and call for exploration. I find the relationship between form and surface integral and defining. Each informs the other within my cyclic studio practice.

The reciprocal relationship between my work and my life is unfolding; my chosen pathway in clay directs my life. As I strive for balance, the lessons I transfer from biking, snowboarding or gardening enrich my studio practice. Time with family and friends feed my inner life. I am gathering and truing my ideas, process, and dreams.


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

Larger version of the image