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Pottery Clay

Trying to figure out which clay body to use for your work? There are so many options of ceramic and pottery clay out there it can be difficult to learn which one is best suited for the work you want to make. This section of Ceramic Arts Daily is designed to help you learn about many types of pottery clay available and figure out which one has the characteristics you are looking for. Whether you are planning to mix your own or buy premade pottery clay, these articles will help demystify the process. And, if you haven't already, be sure to download your free copy of the Successful Tips for Buying and Using Pottery Clay: How to Select the Right Clay, Estimate your Clay Needs, and Test Clays for Better Results, a great studio reference for finding the pottery clay that's right for you.


The Ombré Look: How to Create Smooth Color Blends with Colored Clay

Posted On June 17, 2013 4 Comments

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.


Using Colored Clay and Etching Techniques to Explore Patterns and Textures on Functional Pottery

Posted On August 6, 2012 4 Comments

Debra Oliva’s work is inspired by a Samurai warrior’s suit of armor, which she saw on a visit to a museum. Impressed by the combinations of grays, blacks, and browns, as well as the patterns, textures, and fine details, Debra knew she had to work these elements into her clay work. She does this by throwing in sections with different colored clays, painstakingly etching surface designs, and adding more color with underglazes and terra sig. In today’s post, an excerpt from the September 2012 issue of Ceramics Monthly (coming soon to a newsstand or mailbox near you!), Debra explains her process.


Bonus Video: Tips and Techniques for Making your Own Colored Clay

Posted On July 25, 2012 3 Comments

Today I am sharing a clip from Curt Benzle’s DVD Expanding Your Creative Palette with Colored Clay. In this clip, he gives tips on making colored clays from scratch. I have to admit, I haven’t dabbled much in this technique because it seemed like an such an effort to make the colored clay. But, as Curt explains, it is really not that bad, especially if you set yourself up with a segmented plaster drying bat. Easy Peasy! 


Elevating Earthenware: Dressing up Earthenware with Painted Slips and Sgraffito

Posted On March 12, 2012 0 Comments

Today, Ben Carter tells us all about a cool platter forming technique in which he uses tar paper, slump molds made from insulating foam and hand sewn cloth forms filled with grog. Ben also shares his sgraffito and painted colored slip decorating process.

Video of the Week: How to Determine Clay Shrinkage and Make a Shrink Rule

Posted On September 16, 2011 20 Comments

In today’s video, an excerpt from our latest Ceramic Arts Daily Presents DVD Studio Scale Architectural Ceramics,
Stephani Stephenson explains how to calculate shrinkage and make a
shrink rule. I thought this would be a good clip to share because, even
if you’re not working on an architectural scale, knowing how to
calculate shrinkage is a good skill to have.

How to Create Agateware Pottery Using Colored Clays and a Plaster Press Mold

Posted On April 18, 2011 3 Comments

Agateware pottery features swirling marbleized colors and was
probably first developed to imitate the qualities of agate, a
semiprecious stone with striated patterning. These swirling effects can
be created either by throwing with a prepared mixture of colored clays,
or by working with thin slabs of colored clay that has been layered to
create patterns. In today’s post, Michelle Erickson and Robert
Hunter demonstrate how to create agateware using the latter of these
techniques. Glazing isn’t the only way to create sweet surfaces!

Recycling Clay: Tips for Collecting, Storing, Reclaiming and Reprocessing Your Clay Scraps

Posted On February 7, 2011 42 Comments

We all end up with clay scraps when making pottery, and because this
happens at various stages in the cycle, we need a way to bring all of
that clay to an even level of moisture and consistency so it can be
used again. But there is no one way that works for everyone in every
studio. So in today’s post, an excerpt from our second edition of our free download Successful Tips for Buying and Using Pottery Clay, we present an assortment of simple tips for recycling clay without a lot of equipment or hassle.

Three completed forms with applied slip decoration.

How to Use Underglazes for Slip Trailed and Silk Screened Applique

Posted On December 29, 2010 29 Comments

There is no shortage of application techniques using ceramic underglazes. Laura Kukkee creates her decoration with underglazes on newspaper then transfers it to a freshly rolled clay slab. She also builds up layers of different colored slips and underglaze decoration on newsprint to create a very thin slab. Then she cuts the slab into pieces and uses an appliqué technique to apply the decorated pieces to pots. She also demonstrates silk screened and inlaid appliqué.

Clay Wedging 101: A Great Way to Teach and Learn to Wedge Clay Properly

Posted On September 3, 2010 53 Comments

I began teaching a beginning pottery class this week and I was
reminded that wedging clay can be tricky to learn…and to teach. But I
came across this video from potter Dorian Beaulieu that does a great
job of demonstrating and explaining the wedging process. I am planning
to model my instruction on Dorian’s from now on!

Going Local: How to Dig and Process Your Own Clay

Posted On May 14, 2010 33 Comments

There is an abundance of clay in my area, and I have occasionally
thought about making work out of local clay. But the process seemed
intimidating, so I never actually tried it (or maybe it was a matter of
laziness!). But as Graham Sheehan demonstrates in today’s video clip,
the process is not all that difficult. It might not be practical for
everyone, but if you’re willing to do a little bit of manual labor,
digging your own clay can be a great way to create an even closer
connection to the work you make, and help lessen your carbon footprint
in the process. Watch the video!