Getting glazes to come out the same from batch to batch is a lot easier if you are sure the glaze is mixed to the same consistency each time. Many potters just eyeball it (you know, "mix to the consistency of skim milk"), but to get scientific, you need to measure the specific gravity with a hydrometer. Making a floating-stick hydrometer doesn't have to be rocket science. While making calibrating marks on a simple soda straw to show the specific gravity does requires a bit of math, using a calibration chart (click link below!) makes it a lot easier to do. In today's post, Roger Graham shows you how to make and use this simple tool. - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
The "Ombré" trend is pretty huge right now. Search the term on Pinterest and you'll find everything from ombré cakes to ombré hair color. In case you're unfamiliar with the term, it refers to color graduated from light to dark. In today's post, Chris Campbell explains an easy way to create smooth ombre-like color blends (or Skinner Blends) with colored clay. There's no reason we clay artists can't be up on all the trends and get the ombre look with colored clay. To see the rest of the article and learn how to make beautiful objects (see above image!) with your color-blended clay, download your free copy of our new Workshop Handbook: Clay Projects and Studio Resources.
The cereal bowl selection at my house consists mainly of all of my reject bowls from over the years. It's a motley crew of old, wonky pieces that make me want to reach for the nearest sledgehammer every time I open the cupboard. So I am on a mission: to replace them with more recent work that is finally feeling a bit more resolved and successful. So since I am bowl obsessed, I thought I would share an inspirational bowl video. In this clip, an excerpt from her DVD Creating Curves with Clay (which is now available ad a digital download!), Martha Grover demonstrates how she dresses up a basic ice cream or cereal bowl with curves inspired by orchids and flowing dresses. Enjoy!
Amy Meya was fascinated by tessellation -- the repeated use of a single shape without gaps or overlapping -- and wanted to figure out a way to incorporate tessellating patterns into her work. At first she tried to make a mosaic with tessellated tiles, but wasn't happy with the results. So she came up with another method in which she created bisque stamps that would create tessellations. In today's post, an excerpt from the May/June 2013 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, she explains how to use them to on slabs to make beautiful wall tiles. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
Handles can be the bane of a potters existence - at least they are for me a lot of the time. So I am always happy when I learn new ways of approaching them. Today, in an excerpt from Gail Kendall's new DVD Slab and Coil Building (which debuts today in the Ceramic Arts Daily Bookstore!) Gail shows us three great handle techniques. This DVD was so fun to watch because Gail has such a good sense of what her material can and cannot do. She definitely has me inspired to try her slab/coil techniques - and this clip in particular has cured my "handle block."
Historically, I have been more of a thrower than a handbuilder. I love handbuilt pots, but haven't quite gotten there with my handbuilding. One thing I have struggled with is coming up with attractive feet on slabbuilt vessels and platters. But Suze Lindsay's new DVD gave me some good ideas to play with.
In today's video, Suze shares a couple of great little techniques for added feet. Have a look! - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
The pinch pot is the most elemental of pottery forms requiring simply one's hands and a lump of clay. Because of this, it is often the first technique most of us learn when introduced to clay. But that doesn't mean it is merely a beginner technique. Many artists use pinching techniques to make sophisticated or complex forms. Lily Zuckerman makes beautiful vessels starting from a solid lump of clay, with no clay added and very little cut away. In today's post, she explains her process. - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
The Ceramics Monthly Working Potters issue is out! I always love this issue because I enjoy hearing other potters talk about how they got to wherever they happen to be in their careers. In this excerpt from not of the working potter articles, Nan Coffin tells about her journey, from her first hand built kick wheels and kilns, to the lovely San Diego studio where she works today. - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
Pottery Video of the Week: Applying Ceramic Decals to Leatherhard Pottery to Combine Atmospheric Effects with Decal Imagery
Decals have been used on ceramic work for many years by independent potters and industry. But perhaps nobody has pushed the limits with them as much as Justin Rothshank. Justin has tried everything under the sun when it comes to using decals creatively on pottery. In today's post, an excerpt from his new DVD Ceramic Decals: New Ideas and Techniques, Justin explains how he applies decals to leather-hard work so that he can combine atmospheric effects with decal imagery.
The votes are in and about 2700 of you voiced your opinions on the Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artists of 2013. But alas, there can only be one winner. This year the congratulations go to Ann Van Hoey of Mechelen, Belgium! I’d also like to congratulate all of the other contenders on the terrific work you make. And finally, a big thank you to our sponsor BigCeramicStore.com! In today’s post, we are sharing a great video about Ann, produced by Design Flanders, so you can get to know her a little better. Enjoy! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
Recently, Yoko Sekino Bove conducted extensive tests to determine how several base glazes do
with a wide variety of coloring oxides and carbonates. Today we are
sharing the results!
Today we are debuting another one of our DVDs that we shot on location in Bakersville, North Carolina, last summer: Pouring Vessels: Making and Decorating Expressive Functional Pottery, with Suze Lindsay. Since we were on location, in addition to the excellent technical demonstrations, Suze discusses pots from her amazing collection off contemporary functional pottery and how they influence her work. In this clip, Suze demonstrates a simple pitcher form and gives great advice on tackling various pitcher components like making spouts, and pulling handles off the pot. - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
Although bright colors have become just as easy to achieve at cone six as they are at cone 06, Gail Kendall still prefers the low fire approach, inspired by the casual decretive style of peasantware from Europe and Great Britain. In today's post, Gail explains her techniques for creating simple and beautiful slip-decorated surfaces. She also shares her slip and glaze recipe. - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
In today's post, an excerpt from the January/February 2010 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, Michelle Erickson and Robert Hunter explain the important considerations potters need to make when making agateware and demonstrate throwing agateware on the pottery wheel.
A triaxial blend is an excellent tool for learning about glazes and materials but if you're new to glaze testing, just the words "triaxial blend" might give you pause.
Never fear! John Britt is here to demystify the triaxial blend in today's video post. In this clip John clearly explains how a triaxial blend is set up and shows a fired example of a triaxial blend with stains, which nails the point home. - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
We recently featured a square baking dish project on the blog (with a rhubarb crisp recipe too!), but today I thought I would point out that you can use that technique to make all shapes and sizes of baking dishes or bowls. In this post Richard Phethean shows how he makes an asymmetric bowl in a similar way. I really like how he contrasted the asymmetric shape in the finished pot (at left) with a spiral mark on the floor of the pot. Have a look and then see what kind of shapes you can come up with. - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
Commercial underglazes are basically clay slips containing colorants, and they're a great way to add color to your work using a variety of application methods. And since they're formulated to have low drying shrinkage, they can be applied to bone-dry greenware or to bisque-fired surfaces. In addition to being able to change the surface color of your clay body, underglazes can also be used to change the texture of the body.
Everyone who is learning to throw on the pottery wheel has probably had moments when they wanted to give the clay a whack (or throw it across the room). But this doesn't necessarily have to be a result of frustration. A good thwack can actually be a nice aesthetic touch. In today's video, Robin Hopper demonstrates how to throw a bowl and then square it off with a paddle to make a great surface for decorating. - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
Helen Gilmour is interested in the relationships between traditional crafts. So she decided to make traditional pottery forms - like teapots and bowls - that look like they are knitted. The result is a form that at first glance appears soft, but on closer examination has the fired strength of porcelain. In today's post, Helen explains the process she came up with to make these delicate looking vessels. - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
There have been many times in my wheel throwing career that I have thought, "I just can't throw large pots. I am not strong enough." But I have learned over the years that to throw big, you don't need brawn. You need brains!! There are tons of smart ways to approach throwing large. In today's post, an excerpt from the May/June 2013 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, I am sharing three great tips for throwing large from potter Claire O'Conner. - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.