Back to basics

Graham Sheehan introduces beginning potters to a low-tech approach to clay that’s been used by potters for thousands of years. And although this DVD was originally intended for someone starting out in clay, it’s actually more of a low-tech approach to clay that anyone can use. From digging your own clay to building a primitive kiln from simple materials, Sheehan takes you step-by-step through a tried-and-true process used for millennia. You’ll appreciate the entire pottery process when you create pieces using the simple tools and materials shown here.

Run Time 60 Minutes




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Square one

Sheehan starts off with a demonstration of how to dig and prepare your own clay. Typically found in muddy creeks, roadside cuts, or river banks, clay is readily available most everywhere and is usually a low-fire earthenware. Although he uses commercial clay in his projects, this explanation may just inspire you to try out the clay in your backyard or neighborhood.

Beginning projects

Sheehan demonstrates four projects, each one progressively more difficult. He begins by making a rabbit from solid piece of clay which he then hollows out the center. Next, he constructs an elephant from two pinch pots and adds slabs for legs and a head from a solid piece of clay. The third project involves making a weed holder from two slabs with added decoration, and in his last project, he demonstrates making a tall cylindrical vase with a clay slab wrapped around a form. 

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“The ancient methods illustrated are likely to inspire a modern to get going in this engaging program
which is about as good and fun an introduction to pottery as you’re likely to find.
Highly recommended.” (Video Librarian)


The finishing touch

Once the pots are allowed to dry, Sheehan demonstrates simple glazing with three colored slips and a clear glaze. By using readily available commercial glazes, the novice learns how glazes are applied and what to expect for a finished project.

Building a simple kiln

One of the features of this DVD is Sheehan’s simple kiln constructed from common fireplace brick. He includes a construction drawing on the DVD that you can print out to serve as a guide. Fired with wood, he’s able to reach approximately cone 08 — high enough to vitrify earthenware for decorative pieces.

A treat and a retreat

When you begin working with clay, you’ll experience a whole new world, and with Graham Sheehan’s step-by-step introduction, that experience will be richly rewarding. This DVD is a great way to introduce kids, or the uninitiated, to a craft that’s been practiced without interruption for more than 10,000 years. It’s a no-frills low-tech approach that has a great deal of appeal in our hectic hi-tech society and is sure to foster an appreciation of a simpler time.




 Original Price 39.95 – NOW $19.95 While Supplies Last

Purchase the DVD $19.95
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