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Making Clay Tools

Ceramic artists are some of the most creative people out there when it comes to their tools of the trade. Nothing is off limits as a potential clay tool and no clay tool has just one use. To prove it, we’ve gathered some of the most clever tips and techniques out there for making your own clay tools. And don't forget to download your free copy of the Clay Workshop Handbook: Knowledge and Techniques for the Pottery Studio. This handy studio reference includes valuable technical references and great clay tools to help you with forming, surface decoration and firing. Plus, it has a comprehensive directory of manufacturers and suppliers that provide ceramic equipment, raw materials, clay tools and ceramic supplies.


DIY Clay Tools Video Contest – Finalist 1

Posted On July 26, 2010 26 Comments

So, we were right! Our
audience is a clever lot. The submissions for the DIY Clay Tools Video
Contest are in and they did not disappoint. After much deliberation,
we’ve chosen three great finalists. We will present them today, Wednesday, July 28, and Friday, July 30. A
link to the voting page for the grand prize winner will be posted on
Friday July 30, and voting will continue through midnight (Eastern
Standard Time) Monday, August 2. Watch the video!

A Smart Hanging System That Helps Functional Pottery Double as Ceramic Wall Art

Posted On June 30, 2010 25 Comments

In today’s post, Annie Chrietzberg explains a clever hanging system that potter Christine Boyd developed for her functional work so it could be hung on the wall when not in use. She also describes the home-made tools Christine invented to make the system easy and quick to construct.

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Pottery Decorating Video: Inexpensive Homemade Pottery Tool Makes Even Decoration a Cinch

Posted On June 11, 2010 22 Comments

On Monday of this week, I shared a great tip for a measuring device called a Dividing Web. This tool is quite handy for making precise repeated decoration all the way around a pot. So I thought I would follow up with a video of another great tool for dividing round pots up into equal segments. You’ll especially find this one convenient if you are a coffee drinker or enjoy a cocktail every now and again. Watch the video!

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The Dividing Web: A Handy Tool for Making Evenly Spaced Patterns All the Way Around a Piece of Pottery

Posted On June 7, 2010 16 Comments

This handy guide makes it easy to divide the surface of any round pot into as many as twelve equal sections. Whether you’re decorating, darting, paddling or attaching handles and spouts, you’ll want to keep a few of these around the studio.

How to Make Custom Hardwood Throwing Ribs for Your Pottery

Posted On April 28, 2010 20 Comments

Making your own customized ribs is not only a way to help facilitate
your personal aesthetic touches, but, as Robert Balaban puts it, it
“permits creativity to extend from the clay to the tools.” In today’s
post, Robert shares his system for creating custom hardwood throwing
ribs.

A Couple of Helpful Tips for the Clay Studio from Ceramic Arts Daily Readers

Posted On January 11, 2010 41 Comments

Clay people are a clever lot. It never ceases to amaze me how many interesting and innovative tools and techniques ceramic artists come up with to make their processes more efficient or to achieve the end result for which they are aiming. And the great thing is, clay people are always willing to share their tips. Today, I’m sharing a couple of those with you here in the Daily.

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Ceramics Decorating Video: Slip Cones – Easy-to-Make Pottery Tools for Precise Slip Trailing

Posted On January 9, 2009 18 Comments

In today’s video, ceramic artist Charan Sachar shows us how to make a foolproof and ergonomic slip trailer out of some inexpensive materials. Watch the video now! and then make some for yourself. We’ve also included some step-by-step written instruction on the process.

The Pounding Pad: An Energy-Saving Clay Tool

Posted On November 24, 2008 1 Comment

Because the process of working with clay is so enjoyable to us, it’s easy to forget that this material we love so much has some physical characteristics that, if not understood and respected, can do us harm. One of those characteristics is plasticity, which of course is a good thing—it’s what makes clay workable. Heck, if clay wasn’t plastic, it would just be dirt! At the same time, that quality that sticks all those clay particles together makes a large lump of it fairly resistant to the pressure of a human hand—or foot, or elbow or head… Over time, the stress and pressure of pushing clay around can do damage to our joints and tissue. But this is why we have clay tools. They make our studio lives easier, they make our work better (if we use them right) and they maximize the physical effort of our bodies. In today’s feature, Don Adamaitis demonstrates how to make a tool that can protect us from injury and make our working process more enjoyable. And it’s easy!

Pottery Trimming Video: The Superchuck

Posted On October 24, 2008 5 Comments

If you trim your pottery using a bisque-fired chuck—or even if you don’t—you’ll love the superchuck. Watch the video to check out what Tim See has come up with, and then make your own. We’ve included a materials list and instructions below; don’t worry, it’s short and the process is easy.—Sherman Hall, Ceramic Arts Daily

From the Laundry Room to the Clay Studio: Readers Share Clever Tips for Pottery Tools

Posted On August 13, 2008 0 Comments

Today we bring you a couple of great reader-submitted tips for ceramic tools. These tips involve items that you probably already own, but never thought to use for clay studio purposes. Following a laundry theme, ceramic artists Ken Magee of Talahassee, Florida, and Peggy Breidenbach of Indianapolis, Indiana, share ideas for repurposing tools usually used for drying clothes for use in the ceramics studio.