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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.


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Handbuilding Video: How to Make a Mosaic-Patterned Bowl Using Loaves of Colored Clay

Posted On March 12, 2010 27 Comments

In today’s video, an excerpt from Pottery Decoration: Traditional Techniques, potter Tom Shafer demonstrates a version of the nerikomi technique. Nerikomi (often referred to as “neriage”) is a decorative process established in Japan that involves stacking colored clays and then slicing through the cross section to reveal a pattern, which can then be used as an applied decoration, or in this case, to build a form on a plaster mold. 

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Handbuilding Video: How to Make a Handbuilt Ceramic Planter Using a Simple Cardboard Form

Posted On January 15, 2010 24 Comments

For today’s video, I have excerpted a cool planter project involving a simple cardboard form and some slabs. What I especially like about this project is that Graham turns very practical joint reinforcements into lovely loose decorative elements. 

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Ceramic Sculpture Video: Ceramic Sculptor Gerit Grimm Discusses Her Wheel-Thrown and Handbuilt Figurative Sculpture

Posted On January 8, 2010 37 Comments

In today’s video, which was sent to us by Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, a.k.a. NET TV (www.netnebraska.org/television/), Gerit discusses her method of using the pottery wheel to make figurative sculpture. Watch the video!

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How to Make a Square Lidded Jar Using Both Wheel-Thrown and Handbuilt Components

Posted On December 14, 2009 38 Comments

In this project, Sequoia Miller demonstrates how he uses wheel throwing and handbuilding techniques to make an angular, lidded jar.

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Handbuilding Video: Master Yixing Teapot Demonstration Part Two – Considering Every Detail

Posted On December 11, 2009 27 Comments

As promised, today we bring you another Yxing teapot video. This one focuses on the finishing refinements that are made to Yixing teapots. Master artist Zhu Jiang Long demonstrates how every inch of the teapot is considered from the lid right to the signature stamp on the bottom.

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Handbuilding Video: A Yixing Teapot Master Creates an Exquisite Handbuilt Teapot

Posted On December 4, 2009 65 Comments

In today’s video, Zhou Gui Zhen, who has been designated a National Living Treasure in China, demonstrates the construction of the body of a teapot from slabs using the traditional Yixing technique.

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Even the Pros Mess Up Spouts! Potter Lorna Meaden Demonstrates “A Great Way to Fix a Spout You Ruined”

Posted On November 6, 2009 14 Comments

Today, Lorna Meaden explains a great way to fix a messed-up pitcher spout by adding coils when the pot is leather hard and re-pulling the spout. Not only is it a great way to fix mess-ups, but it is also a great way to add length to a pulled spout. 

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Clay’s Fascinating Cousin: A Glimpse into the World of Precious Metal Clay

Posted On October 23, 2009 18 Comments

In this clip, Hattie Sanderson, a certified Precious Metal Clay instructor, explains the basic PMC tools and lingo, and presents an introductory earring project.

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Ceramic Sculpture Video – The Curious Case of Benjamin Ballclay: See An Old Man Become Youthful in Under Two Minutes

Posted On October 16, 2009 20 Comments

We have two videos for you today. For fun, you can watch ceramic sculptor Philippe Faraut sculpt the years away and return an old man to his youth in under two minutes. Plus, you can watch the reverse in real time, complete with expert instructions. 

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From Sad to Happy in Four Minutes: A Quick Course in Changing Facial Expressions in Figurative Ceramic Sculpture

Posted On September 25, 2009 25 Comments

We all know that a smile means happy, but what happens to the rest of the face when you smile? Philippe Faraut knows, and today, he’ll show us as he transforms a sculpture with a not-so-happy expression into a bright, smiling face (in about four minutes!).