Sign up for your FREE subscription to the Ceramic Arts Daily Newsletter and we will give you Underglaze Users Guide 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.


click to enlarge

Pottery Video of the Week: A Great Lesson Plan for Understanding Clay and the Human Figure

Posted On August 24, 2012 2 Comments

It’s that time of year again. Students and teachers are heading back to school. So we thought we’d have a back-to-school sale on of our most popular DVD for the education set – Neil Patterson’s Clay Projects and Fundamentals. Perhaps the best way to gain an understanding of clay and all it’s properties is to pick up a lump and start shaping it. And modeling clay into the human form is a great way to learn about proportion, symmetry, and gesture. In today’s post, Neil takes us through a simple figure sculpting project. This project also ties in well with history and world cultures lessons.

click to enlarge

From Slab to Grab: Creating Textured Handles

Posted On August 22, 2012 7 Comments

Texture in clay can be addictive. Who doesn’t love pressing objects into a piece of soft clay? And why stop at the handles? As Annie Chrietzberg demonstrates in today’s post, textured slab handles are a great way to carry texture throughout a piece – plus they are less messy than pulled handles and can provide instant gratification. Have a look!

 

click to enlarge

Wheel Throwing and Handbuilding to Add Quirky Personality to a Vase

Posted On August 20, 2012 0 Comments

Nick Ramey started out making high-fire, wheel-thrown pottery, but during graduate school became enamored with handbuilding low-fire earthenware sculptures. After grad school he decided to combine his various new skills and interests to make thrown and altered functional work, but add sculptural details to infuse it with humor. In today’s post, Nick explains his forming process. To learn about his decorating processes, check out the September/October 2012 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated!

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 10, 2012 4 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 18, 2012 4 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.

sandipuffy620

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

Posted On June 15, 2012 11 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!

tefft620

Capturing the Exuberance of Nature in a Wheel Thrown and Altered Pottery Form

Posted On May 28, 2012 1 Comment

Today, Charlie Tefft explains how he throws and alters his “wren” pitchers.

templatebowl620

Simple Sets: Making and Using Templates for Uniform Handbuilt Bowls

Posted On May 21, 2012 9 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.

michaud620

How to Improve the Strength of Coil-Built Forms Using an Ancient Technique

Posted On May 18, 2012 6 Comments

In this clip, Joyce Michaud demonstrates the traditional east Asian coil technique, which combines coiling with potter’s wheel concepts. Joyce shows us how to “hand throw” with the grace and fliudity of someone who has been doing this for a long time. During this demonstration, she explains how this method can make work more structurally sound because it compresses and aligns the clay particles with the form, which can then open the doors for trying new and more-challenging forms. Along the way, she passes on great tips such as a cool way to establish a concave foot on a coil-built piece.

elardo620

Blurring the Line: Larry Elardo’s Slab Coil Pottery

Posted On April 23, 2012 13 Comments

Refining a process often leads the way to artistic and financial success. For Larry Elardo, developing a more effective method for creating his highly-textured containers posed an interesting challenge. By experimenting with different methods, and using engineering tools to assist him, Larry found that handbuilding upside down, combining slab and coil methods, and beveling edges considerably reduced the time he spends making each creation.