It’s summer and time to throw some pots on the barbecue! Yes indeed, your trusty old Weber grill, the little round one on three legs that you might have left sitting in your garage when you upgraded your outdoor kitchen, can have a second life as a mini-kiln. If you don’t have a kiln but still want to fire some pots—or you have an electric kiln but you’d like to do some smoke-firing without digging a fire-pit in your yard or alarming the neighbors too much—the grill is a surprisingly versatile alternative.
If you think about it, Pottery Making Illustrated is like a
two-month ‘workshop’ delivered to your door. In the July/August issue
we’ve assembled a group of potters and experts exploring some
firing-related topics you’ll find exciting.
Today, Mike Jabbur shares his process for one of his liquor service sets. Not only does Mike make lovely functional sets, but he also creates display units for them that elevate them to a more sculptural realm.
Even though our fingers serve as our primary throwing tools,
there are times when a throwing rib does a better job. Ribs are a potter’s best
friend when it comes to defining profiles, wringing out water or adding decorative
touches. In the beginning, actual animal ribs were used for this purpose—and
hence the name—but now contemporary ribs are commonly made from wood, metal,
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
It’s time to break out of those winter doldrums and get psyched with some fresh ideas for spring! We’ve got some hot projects and groovy techniques we think you’ll really enjoy. They’re not too complicated and allow for a lot of creativity. You’ll have fun displaying your thrown pieces in a handbuilt unit, or maybe you’d like to try your hand at cutting apart your work and reassembling it. David Hendley demonstrates how to take extruded forms and finish them off on the wheel, while Keith Phillips wows us with his salt and pepper shakers. The sooner you get to the studio, the sooner you’ll have some new pieces made.
Combine cast and handbuilt parts without the fear of different shrinkage rates. Paul Wandless demonstrates how to make a casting slip from your everyday clay body.
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.