Sign up for your FREE subscription to the Ceramic Arts Daily Newsletter and we will give you Design Tips and How-To Instructions for Handmade Ceramic Tile Projects Free!

Handbuilding Techniques

Handbuilding may be an ancient pottery making technique, but there is no shortage of exciting work being created today by the hands of ceramic artists. Here, we’ll share with you some of the most inventive handbuilt work out there and give step-by-step instruction from the artists making it. Handbuilding projects, from the simple coil built pot to complex slab built sculpture, are covered in detail. Peruse through our archive of articles and videos on handbuilding techniques, whether you want to brush up on a process or start off in a new direction. And, if you haven't already, be sure download your free copy of our Five Great Handbuilding Techniques: How to Make Pottery Using the Pinch, Coil and Slab Methods for some handbuilding project ideas.


pickett-big

Puffy Pots: How to Use Double Walled Construction to Give Your Pottery Volume

Posted On October 6, 2014 13 Comments

Chris Pickett’s puffy forms reference stuffed
animals and inflatable toys and the visible seams give the work a casual
and relaxed feel. Chris creates his inflated forms through
double walled construction using slump molds and paper patterns. In
today’s post, Chris takes us through this fun way of working.

napleshandle_620

How to Make a Comfortable Slab-Built Handle

Posted On October 3, 2014 4 Comments

In today’s post, Lisa Naples shares her technique for making a slab-built handle for a cream pitcher. I love this handle because it is an interesting shape that complements her slab-built pitcher really well, and because, just by looking at it, you can tell it is comfortable. Have a look! Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

groverhandle_620

How to Create an Ornamental Yet Functional Handle

Posted On September 26, 2014 0 Comments

Handles are something I struggled with for a long time. Once I started to get my handles the way I wanted, I realized that my pieces as a whole looked better. Another example of how paying attention to all the details in a piece can make a world of difference.

 

In today’s video, Martha Grover shows how she “fancys” up a pulled handle to make it look perfect (and function well) on one of her elegant butter boxes. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

zuckerman620new

How to Make Sophisticated Pottery Forms Using the Most Basic of Tools

Posted On September 17, 2014 1 Comment

The pinch pot is the most elemental of pottery forms requiring simply one’s hands and a lump of clay. Because of this, it is often the first technique most of us learn when introduced to clay. But that doesn’t mean it is merely a beginner technique. Many artists use pinching techniques to make sophisticated or complex forms. Lily Zuckerman makes beautiful vessels starting from a solid lump of clay, with no clay added and very little cut away. In today’s post, she explains her process. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

juicecup_620

Dissecting a Found Form to Come Up With Patterns for Handbuilding

Posted On September 12, 2014 3 Comments

If you love slab building, but have trouble figuring out how to flat slab to volumetric form, today’s video clip from Liz Zlot Summerfield might help solve the mystery. In this clip, an excerpt from her DVD Handbuilt Forms with Soft Slabs, Liz shows how to take a simple paper cup and turn it into a pattern for a handbuilt juice cup.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

Maury_620

Tips for Using Commercial Sprigs to Embellish Handmade Pottery

Posted On August 27, 2014 0 Comments

Many studio potters consider it cheating to use commercial products (molds, glazes, etc) in their work, but to me, nothing should be off limits! Kate Maury agrees and makes gorgeous functional work that looks more like sculpture. She does this using commercially made sprigs and clay sprigs made from found objects. In today’s post, she shares tips for working with, as well as storing, these sprigs. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

PS: To see Kate’s process for making a candle holder using sprigs, buy a back issue PDF of the January/February 2014 Pottery Making Illustrated.

schwartzkopf_620

A Sweet Handbuilt and Wheel Thrown Dessert Bowl

Posted On August 22, 2014 13 Comments

In today’s post, Deborah Schwartzkopf, a master at designing beautiful non-round functional pottery, shows us how she makes her dessert bowls. The clip is an excerpt from her utterly inspiring new DVD Pieces and Patterns: Complex Forms from Handbuilt and Wheel-Thrown Parts, which is now shipping!! Enjoy!

click to enlarge

Pottery Video of the Week: A Super Easy Way to Get the Pulled Handle Look Without Pulling the Handle

Posted On August 8, 2014 7 Comments

Sandi Pierantozzi demonstrates a couple of variations on her flat pulling handle technique in today’s excerpt from her DVD, which is now available as a digital download! Enjoy!

hopkins620

Building Complex Pottery Forms Simply

Posted On July 16, 2014 6 Comments

Bryan Hopkins jokingly refers to his pots as dysfunctional vessels because of their high loss rate. But he says that just comes with the territory when your goal is to push the material to its limits. In today’s post, an excerpt from an upcoming article in Ceramics Monthly, Hopkins explains his process, which includes throwing posts on the wheel, cutting them into slab sections, pressing some of the sections into bisque molds, then putting all back together in interesting constructions.

templatebowl620

Simple Sets: Making and Using Templates for Uniform Handbuilt Bowls

Posted On June 22, 2014 10 Comments

In today’s post, an excerpt from his book From a Slab of Clay, Daryl Baird explains how to make templates and use them to create slab-built bowls. A great benefit of this is that if you make them with a sturdy material like card stock or laminated paper, you can use them over and over.