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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.


How to Handbuild a Hexagonal Jar Using a Template

Posted On July 20, 2015 7 Comments
Throwing is great, but if you are interested in exploring more angular shapes handbuilding is a good way to go. If you want to be able to repeat those forms consistently, using a template will save you time and hassle.   In today’s post, an excerpt from Handbuilding Techniques, Don Hall shares how to make… Read More »

How to Make a Jar With Press-Molded Decorative Strips and Wheel Thrown Parts

Posted On July 10, 2015 8 Comments

A. Blair Clemo has some of the most interesting pottery making techniques I have seen. His process involves press molds, coil building, wheel throwing, sprig molds and more. Though it looks fairly complex, it’s really not when you break it down.

In today’s clip, an excerpt from his brand-spanking-new video Simply Ornate: Handbuilding and Wheel Throwing with Press Molds, Blair shows one of the ways he combines wheel thrown parts with custom press-molded decorative strips to make a sweet jar. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


How to Press Mold a Large Bowl in Sections

Posted On July 8, 2015 1 Comment
Those of you who are avid CAD readers may remember the work of Belgian artist Ann Van Hoey from a couple of years ago when she won the CAD Peoples Choice Emerging Artist award. I was immediately smitten by her work and even more smitten when I saw the snippet of her making it in… Read More »

Pottery Video of the Week: The Puffy Handle – Sandi Pierantozzi Demonstrates a Great Alternative to a Pulled Handle

Posted On July 3, 2015 13 Comments

Pulled handles are lovely, but they are not the only option for creating great handles on your pottery. With a little imagination and skill, you can make successful handles in a multitude of ways. Our good friend Sandi Pierantozzi, who is not lacking in the imagination or the skills department, returns today with a great idea for an alternative to the pulled handle. In this clip, Sandi shares the technique for making her “puffy” handles. Enjoy!


Paying Attention to Details to Make a Comfortable Functional Handle

Posted On June 29, 2015 10 Comments

The handle on my Mike Jabbur coffee mug is one of my absolute favorites in my collection. The ear-shaped curve at the top of the handle is just perfect for my fingers to comfortably nestle into, and is now a shape I seek out in a handle…and something I have been incorporating into my own work. It’s these details that make all of the difference. In today’s clip, an excerpt from his new DVD Precise Imprecision: Strengthening Throwing Skills to Create Dynamic Functional Pottery, Mike demonstrates his handle making process and discusses the details he considers to make them function well.


Handbuilding Nesting Bowls with Hump and Slump Molds

Posted On June 1, 2015 8 Comments

Nesting bowls are a project I have been meaning to take on for a while. I’ve always wanted to make a set of bowls that fit nicely together like Matryoshka nesting dolls. So, I’ve been trying to figure out the best approach – handbuilt or wheel thrown. After seeing Courtney Murphy’s nifty method for making nesting bowls, which I am sharing in today’s post, I am leaning toward handbuilding. See what you think! 


How to Handbuild a Stacked Dish Using Bisque Hump Molds

Posted On May 8, 2015 2 Comments

Combining multiple bisque molds to create stacked pots is a really fun way to explore form. A bonus is that you can stack the molds themselves before you even start on a piece to test out which forms work and which don’t. And once you have a good collection of molds in your arsenal, the possibilities for stacked combinations are practically limitless. Kari Radasch loves this way of working because it keeps her from getting bored in the studio, and it is a relatively quick way to work (good for a busy mom of two young children). In today’s post, an excerpt from her brand new video Low-Tech Clay: High End Results, Kari demonstrates one of her stacked dishes.


How to Incorporate Colored Clay into Delicate Pinched Coil Vases

Posted On May 6, 2015 32 Comments

With their delicate undulating rims, Cheryl Malone’s seemingly paper-thin vases bear a striking resemblance to flower petals. No surprise since Cheryl is inspired by the growth patterns of plants and their similarities to the coil building process. To pull off such petal thin work through the coil/pinch process takes practice, and in an excerpt from our new release Handbuiling Techniques, Cheryl shares her secrets to making it happen. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


How to Make an Interesting Recessed Foot on a Mug

Posted On April 24, 2015 3 Comments

If you are someone who likes to combine throwing and handbuilding to make interesting forms, today’s video is for you. In this clip from Deborah Schwartzkopf’s Pieces and Patterns: Complex Forms from Handbuilt and Wheel-Thrown Parts, she demonstrates how she makes the super cool bottoms of her cup forms with a slab and a bisque fired mold. She then skillfully attaches the base to a bottomless wheel-thrown cylinder, which she then darts and alters to make the shape just right. The best part about this is that once you make the bisque mold for the recessed foot, you can repeat it over and over again! 


The Drop-Technique: How to Make Softly Textured Tiles

Posted On April 17, 2015 7 Comments

Lana Wilson is known for her textured surfaces and she has some pretty fun ways of coming up with said texture. Take for example her “drop technique tiles.” Looking at these, it is a little bit difficult to figure out exactly how the soft-edged texture was created. The good thing is, in today’s post, an excerpt from her new DVD Handbuilding with Color and Texture, Lana demonstrates this unusual technique!– Jennifer Harnetty, editor.