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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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Pottery Video of the Week: Making Interesting Cup Shapes by Combining Bisque Molded and Wheel-Thrown Parts

Posted On October 21, 2011 36 Comments

In today’s video, Deborah Schwartzkopf 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. Voila! Not your typical cylindrical cup form.

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Bonus Monday Pottery Video: Nifty Adjustable Mold System Makes Many Shapes and Sizes Possible with a Single Mold

Posted On October 17, 2011 72 Comments

In this bonus Monday pottery video, Dale Baucum tries out a couple of adjustable molds for slab building. The beauty of these molds is that you can make a plethora of different shapes and sizes of pots with just one mold. Super cool.

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Designing With Texture: Using Textured Plaster Slabs to Incorporate Surface Detail into Pottery in the Design Stage

Posted On October 12, 2011 25 Comments

Today potter Dan Gegen explains how he begins working with texture
before the construction process even begins, and therefore makes it
integral to the design of the pot.
He also shares the glaze recipe for the lovely celadon-esque glaze featured on the pot to the left.

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Video of the Week: Tips for Cutting Extruded Trim and Making Corners for Architectural Projects

Posted On October 7, 2011 21 Comments

In today’s video, Stephani gives some great tips on preparing extruded trim for architectural projects. Even if you don’t have an architectural project in your future, you’ll find some of these tips — like how she “sews” pieces together — quite handy in your regular studio work too.

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A Visit to Ulrich Schumann’s Berlin Ceramics Studio

Posted On August 29, 2011 6 Comments

In today’s post, an excerpt from the September 2011 issue of Ceramics Monthly, Ulrich Schumann talks about his path in ceramics, as well as how he makes his remarkable large-scale work.

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Pottery Video of the Week: How to Make Gestural Sculptural Pottery Using Soft Slabs – Part Two

Posted On July 29, 2011 24 Comments

Last Friday, I posted a video filmed at a Potters Council conference earlier this year. In the video, Tammy Marinuzzi demonstrated her handbuilding techniques for her figurative functional pottery. Today, I am sharing part two. In this segment, Tammy shows us how she makes the lids for her lidded jars, and how she adds life to the work by adding expressive eyes, noses, and mouths.

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Totally Tubular: How to Slab Build Large Round Forms for Architectural or Sculptural Uses

Posted On July 27, 2011 12 Comments

Since the mid-1970s, ceramic artist Peter King has been combining his experience in the building industry with his love for clay to make architectural works of art. Many of his projects involve columns like those shown to the left so Peter had to come up with a really great system for making tall, straight-walled cylindrical pieces. The best way Peter has found to do this is by wrapping slabs around cylindrical forms made of plywood and roofing flashing. Today, he explains this method, which allows him to make columns in virtually any height or diameter.

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Pottery Video of the Week: How to Make Gestural Sculptural Pottery Using Soft Slabs -Part One

Posted On July 22, 2011 23 Comments

I met Tammy Marinuzzi earlier this year at the Potters Council Surface + Form workshop and had the pleasure of watching her work (and I just happened to catch it on film!). I was so impressed by her relaxed way of working and how she lets these little creatures evolve as they are being formed rather than starting out with a set plan. There was so much good stuff in her process that I couldn’t quite condense it down to one video, so today I will show you part one. Tune in next week for part two!

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Bonus Monday Pottery Video: Making Pottery Using Slabs, Coils and Textured Paddles

Posted On July 18, 2011 76 Comments

I’m taking a long overdue day off today, readers. And I plan to spend it in the studio! But I didn’t want to leave you hanging, so I thought I would send out a bonus Monday pottery video. This video comes from CAD reader Patricia Bridges. In the video Patricia makes a slab and coil built pot, which is enhanced by paddled texture. She finishes off with a lovely glaze that enhances the texture. Enjoy and have a good Monday!

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Pottery Video of the Week: Tony Clennell Demonstrates How to Pull Great Looking Handles for Pottery

Posted On July 15, 2011 19 Comments

In an excerpt from his DVD Get a Handle on It, potter Tony Clennell shares his expert advice on handle pulling. Tony shows us that, with a little practice and patience, great-looking pulled handles are within any potter’s grasp. Watch the video!