Throwing, Altering & Glazing with Sarah Jaeger

In this latest installment of the Ceramic Arts Daily Presents Video Series, Sarah Jaeger presents her techniques for making beautiful porcelain pots with a strong emphasis on function. With a goal of making pots that will be incorporated into the daily lives of those who own them, Sarah explains how she considers every detail in the design of her forms, from the size of a knob to...(Scroll for more.)

$47.97 — $52.97

Runtime: 3 hours

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… the placement of handles. In addition to the object’s physical shape, she demonstrates how the glazing process enhance a form. A firm believer that the visual is as important to function as the tactile, Sarah demonstrates how she layers colors with overglaze trailing and layering with wax resist to create lustrous surfaces that attract the hand as well as the eye. Original List Price: $69.97

Adding Joy to Your Pots

Sarah Jaeger has a talent for combining geometric patterns and forms with organic, plant-inspired lines, which all tend to elevate an otherwise modest form into a delight for the eyes as well as the table. Her belief is that pots should function well, be beautiful, and add some joy and a sense of festivity to someone’s kitchen or table. In this video you’ll learn her techniques for accomplishing this marriage of form and decoration.

Techniques through examples

To begin, Sarah leads you through a series of projects that span a wide range of techniques from design considerations to different forming methods. From a demonstration on making a medium-sized serving bowl, you’ll discover her split rim technique and how she combines this with fluting and other decorative elements. With the lidded tureen you’ll understand how to incorporate knobs and handles that add elegance to the form rather than detract from its beauty.

A variety of forms

Since there are an endless variety of forms for functional pottery, Sarah chooses those that offer a lot of possibilities. Beyond the medium bowl and the tureen, Sarah demonstrates a baking dish, a pitcher, and a cream and sugar set. From these demonstrations, Sarah shows you how to successfully execute thrown forms that can be altered, fluted and manipulated at the wet stage then how to trim, attach handles and form lids that fit. While her pieces look complex, you’ll soon see how to attain similar effects or even incorporate some of her methods into your routine.

The finishing touches

One of the things that distinguishes Sarah’s work is her glazing technique. Her approach to glazing—layering colors to achieve depth of surface and using patterns that repeat loosely around the surface of the pot with no front or back—emphasize the volume of the pot and the interior space. Here she demonstrates her wax resist and trailing techniques over a base coat. And while she fires to cone 10, the techniques can be used in any firing range using a variety of glazes and overglazes.

About Sarah Jaeger

Sarah Jaeger is a studio potter in Helena, Montana. She received a BA (in English literature) from Harvard and a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. She was a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation from 1985 to 1987, and the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Montana Arts Council. She was a United States Artists Target Fellow in 2006, and in the spring of 2007 she was one of the artists profiled in the PBS documentary Craft in America. She has taught at Pomona College, the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has given workshops at schools and art centers nationally. Her work is in public and private collections and, most important, in many kitchens throughout the country.

Artist statement

Functional pots cohabit our intimate domestic spaces. We experience them with our bodies—out hands and lips as well as our eyes. They can insinuate themselves into our consciousness by many different avenues even when we are not paying attention, and over time pots we use can accrue layers of meaning and association. Functional pots do not need to announce their importance. In fact I believe that it is by not being important (or segregated to a pedestal in a museum) that they can bring the experience of beauty or unexpected pleasure to everyday life.Despite the material abundance of our culture, it seems to me that we have been impoverished by the disjunction of beauty and handwork from utility that accompanied the industrial revolution and the hourly ware. Since time became a commodity, it doesn’t make sense to make mere dishes by hand, and yet, as the jeweler and writer Bruce Metcalf has said, “handwork makes meaning, not just physical things.”I am obsessed with making pots that convey a sense of volume, that speak of the capacity to contain and also offer their contents, that express their potential to be useful, generous, and in a way luxurious. I choose to work with porcelain, thought to be the most precious of clays, but which is also the most durable. Its whiteness and translucency lend a luminous depth to the glazed surfaces. I use saturated colors and often layer glazes, usually in patterns that repeat themselves loosely and with variation as they wrap themselves like skins around the volumes of the pots.

“I want these lustrous surfaces to attract the hand as well as the eye. I want the pots to be both elegant and easy, beautiful and friendly, capable of providing abundant nourishment to our daily lives.” — Sarah Jaeger


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