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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.


Handle Making Video: Can You Handle It? Great Techniques for Textured Handles

Posted On August 23, 2013 7 Comments

Today, in a clip from his full-length DVD, Get a Handle On It, Tony Clennell demonstrates a couple of great methods for making attractive coil-built handles for functional pottery.


Circular Logic: How to Explore Shapes for Handbuilding

Posted On August 9, 2013 2 Comments

I find it challenging to go from a flat slab of clay to a functional vessel (probably explains why I mostly throw). It is just hard to picture what a two-dimensional shape is going to do when it’s folded into a three dimensional shape. So I loved this little explanation by Sandi Pierantozzi. In this clip from her best selling DVD What if? Explorations with Texture and Soft Slabs, Sandi shares her “circular logic” and shows you how to turn it into a nice little bowl. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


Making Simple Molds for Slabware

Posted On July 26, 2013 8 Comments

My son starts kindergarten this year (how could that possibly be?!), so the rapid pace at which this summer is flying by is on my mind quite a bit. This might also be the case for all of those school teachers out there.So, today I thought I’d share a project that would work great as a lesson plan. It would also work great for all of you non teachers who are just looking for new ways to streamline your processes in the studio.For more help with lesson planning, take advantage of our Back to School Sale on Neil Patterson’s DVD Clay Projects and Fundamentals.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


The 30-Minute Teapot

Posted On July 17, 2013 7 Comments

Summer is the time that educators regroup and plan for the upcoming school year. So today, I thought I would share a cool project that would make a great lesson plan. In this post, Yoko Sekino Bove shares her 30-Minute Teapot lesson. The beauty of this lesson plan for teachers is that it can be made in one class period. If you’re not a teacher, it’s a fun little project to experiment with if you’re needing a break from your usual routine. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


Video of the Week: How to Make a Wheel-Thrown and Handbuilt Ladle

Posted On April 26, 2013 6 Comments

It’s one thing to serve punch from a handmade ceramic punch bowl, but throw a handmade ceramic ladle in there, and you’ve reached a whole new level of cool.

In today’s post, an excerpt from her DVD Integrating Form and Surface with Porcelain, Lorna Meaden shares her method for making a wheel thrown and handbuilt ladle. She also shares her tips on how to fire such a piece. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


The Pinched Rim Plate: Combining the Polished Look of Throwing with the Raw Look of Pinched Pots

Posted On April 24, 2013 2 Comments

I have been sort of obsessed with plates lately – I haven’t been making any (too busy lately for the studio!) but I have been looking at the plates of other potters and thinking about the form a LOT. Something tells me, the first thing I do when I get back to the studio will be to make some plates. I was super excited by the plate technique of Todd Hayes in the May issue of Ceramics Monthly. Todd contrasts the refined look of thrown work with the more tactile surfaces of pinched pottery to create plates I want to possess. Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


How to Make a Cool Textured Handle and Give it a Great Curve with a Dowel

Posted On April 22, 2013 9 Comments

Getting a beautiful curve on a handle can sometimes be challenging, especially if you don’t like to pull handles. But Bill van Gilder has a tip that makes it easy peasey. In today’s bonus Monday video, an excerpt from his DVD Pottery Techniques with Bill van Gilder, Volume 1, Bill shows how he handbuilds a mug handle and establishes a great curve using a dowel. The bonus: by handbuiling this way, you can make a handle with texture and attach it easily without marring the texture. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


How to Handbuild a Graceful Over-the-Top Teapot Handle That Looks Pulled

Posted On April 12, 2013 3 Comments

Today, we are introducing a new DVD that is a little different from our usual DVDs. This one, Getting Creative with Spouts & Handles, features four terrific artists demonstrating four complete projects that focus on spouted forms and handles. When we got questions about whether or not our Signature Series downloadable videos were available on disc, we thought, why not make compilation discs with several artists tackling a specific form or theme. So here they are (and the individual downloads are still available too!). In this excerpt, I am showing you an excerpt from Mike Jabbur’s teapot video. In this clip Mike shows his great technique for handbuilding graceful over-the-top handles that look like they’re pulled. PS. Though these projects put an emphasis on spouted forms and handles, they take you in depth through building the whole pot from the ground up, so there’s lots of extra information to boot!


Pottery Video of the Week: How to Make a Textured Soft Slab Wall Plate

Posted On March 29, 2013 2 Comments

In today’s video, a (much condensed) excerpt from his DVD Slabs, Templates, Textures and Terra Sigillata, potter Jeremy Randall demonstrates his signature texture making method, and makes a soft-slab textured wall plate with an extruded rim and foot. Enjoy and have a fabulous weekend!


Quilting with Clay: A Handbuilt Soft Slab Ceramic Wall Art Project

Posted On March 20, 2013 6 Comments

Ceramic artist Amy Sander’s work, which includes functional pottery as well as decorative wall pieces, has the appearance of soft quilted fabric although it is made of fired clay. Today, Amy shares her process for creating patchwork ceramic wall art.