While handbuilding can be considered the most basic of all ceramic techniques, it is not without its complexities. In this issue we explore three handbuilding approaches that really go beyond the basics and will really require some practice to master. But the results? You’ll find yourself on a whole new level once you’ve accomplished the techniques presented here. Beginning with the soft pillow-like forms of Margaret Bohls featured on the cover to the bird-inspired work of Deborah Schwartzkopf and elegant food-inspired juicer of gwendolyn yoppolo, these talented artists provide detailed techniques that add grace and function to their work. These features along with our usual array of informative articles on a range of handbuilding-related topics are sure to inspire your next piece.
Theme: Challenging Techniques
We’re starting off the New Year with a few challenging techniques you can really sink your teeth into (yuck! now that would leave a bad taste in your mouth!). On the cover of this issue we feature Hiroe Hanazono and her wonderful double-walled cast vessels. And though it’s freezing cold out there right now (in our neck of the woods anyway) her ice cream sundae set will be the perfect thing for the summer—you just have to get started soon because the process is involved. Another challenging technique in this issue, called zogan yusai, comes from Mashiko potter Fumiya Mukoyama. Montana artist Lauren Sandler then demonstrates a slab and coil building method using a leather-hard mold form then applying terra sigillata to convey complex images. And finally, Michelle Erickson has reverse engineered an historic technique for throwing agateware. You’ll find this and much more in our first issue of the year . . . read on!
Feldspars are minerals of varying composition commonly used by potters. Feldspars form a glassy, white surface when fired high enough. They have a very long range, they begin melting at cone 4 and continue fusing beyond cone 10. They also tend to stiffen a glaze due to their high alumina content. In ceramics there are two basic categories of feldspars: potash feldspars, in which the primary melting oxide is potassium, and soda feldspars in which the primary melter oxide is sodium. Soda and potash have the highest thermal expansion and contraction rate of all the ceramic melter oxides, they promote color brilliance and luster at most firing temperatures, and they encourage specific color results.
Stenciling is a great decorative technique for pottery. In the latest issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, Ann Ruel shares her ideas for getting a stenciled look with more dimension. I thought her ideas were pretty nifty so I have excerpted from the article in today’s post.
Theme: Fun and Function
In this issue we have a little fun with functional work – treating forms and surfaces with a twist. First of all, Michelle Erickson and Robert Hunter lead you on a journey of discovery about an 18th century technique called “laid agate.” The detailed step-by-step makes it possible for you to duplicate. Next, you’ll discover a complete description of the mishima technique presented by Molly Hatch (see the cover), followed by Clay Cunningham’s description of Posey Bacopoulos’ majolica technique. And we’re fortunate to once again have Keith Phillips (Pancaker, Gumball Machine) return with another how-to project – the American Butter Dish. So, whether you’re throwing a simple tumbler and dedicating a lot of time to the decoration, or throwing a complicated butter dish and using a single glaze for decoration, you’ll enjoy the hours you spend picking up some of the great techniques in this issue.
Finding Your Voice
Master craftsman Jeffrey
Nichols talks about Finding Your Voice by developing your techniques
and your ideas. over a period of time. He demonstrates his accumulated
skills by sharing his technique for making a faceted teapot and using
his unique decorating technique of layered underglazes. To view his
teapot spout technique, check out the video.
Theme: Surface Decoration
There’s nothing more exciting than working on a clay surface because
opportunities abound throughout the whole ceramic process. In this
issue about surface decoration, Jeffrey Nichols applies layers of
underglaze to bisqueware and sands it down to mimic a weathered painted
surface. Elizabeth Priddy expertly uses Chinese brushwork to decorate
her work but sandwiches it between layers of glaze to give the painting
added depth. Linda Gates decorates her work after bisque and after the
glaze firing with the application of decals fired in place. And Annie
Chrietzberg tells the story of Lana Wilson, a consummate veteran of the
workshop circuit, and her amazing decorating technique that begins
within minutes of taking the clay out of the bag clear up until the
final firing. This issue also brings you information on brushes, canvas
alternatives, pencils, crayons, pens trailers, and more. For an issue
about surface we cover a lot of material indepth.
Your kiln is your most important piece of equipment because without
firing, your work would have little value. In this issue we show you
how you can use your kiln in ways you may not have thought of. Russel
Fouts demonstrates saggar firing in an electric kiln without harming
the kiln elements; and Henry Halem shows you how to fuse and slump
glass using an electric kiln with an elctronic controller-something
many of us have. You’ll also find information on raku, a method for
hanging your work and throwing square pots.
A taxidermist’s daughter elevates the mounted fish to a new level. Cook up your own fish tale!
Keith Phillips explains how to make an updated version of a classic 1950’s kitchen gadget.