The way that clay stamps can activate and transform the clay surface has been a constant source of fascination to me, helping my work evolve and grow over the last 35 years. I’ve worked with traditional, impressed designs, and more recently with raised designs created via a two-step process. The platters with raised patterns are created using a hump mold and slab construction. First a pattern is stamped into a slab that’s been draped over a form, then this slab is dried and bisqued to create the mold. The surface designs on the mold create a convex, or raised pattern rather than the typical concave surface achieved with stamps. I came up with this idea a few years ago after becoming frustrated with the way traditional stamped patterns did not hold up when using drape molds. I wanted to make utilitarian forms that were elegant, had fine detail and could be reproduced. It was also essential to me that making these pieces kept my joy for working with clay alive!
We fill our days with rituals that enhance the richness of life, and as a potter, I find it satisfying to know that the vessels I create become part of someone’s daily routine. Teapots are certainly objects that become part of our small celebrations and rituals alike. While they can be used as an exuberant expression of art conveying a concept other than the ritual of drinking tea, I prefer to think of my teapots as functional vessels: strong, quiet, balanced, and elegant. Traditionally the most seductive and complex of pottery forms, the parts and pieces that make up a teapot must work in harmony with one another. While it’s difficult to master the unity in design and scale of all the parts as a beginning potter, it’s worth the effort to make teapots even if you’re a novice. Completing a complex form gives a sense of joy and accomplishment; and, with practice, the relationship of all of the parts and the overall form will improve.
A teacher’s resource for teaching throwing; broken down into three steps, readings and visual diagrams, practical demonstration, and hands-on experience.
These units show students the strategies that contemporary artists use when approaching the conceptual process, studio practice and expressive content. Students can then take what they learn through these examples to make more creative connections to their own culture and selves as they solve visual art challenges in their work.
This lesson plan will help students to: research historical and contemporary ceramic works that incorporate sprigging as part of the surface decoration, learn to make both bisque and plaster sprig molds, create sprig molds from found objects and from shapes and designs created in clay or carved from plaster, and to apply press-molded sprigs to leather hard forms, and press sprig molds directly into forms to stamp the surface.
Years ago, in an attempt to incorporate digital photography into my clay work, I began experimenting with image transfer processes. I began working with Xerox transfers and decals with some degree of success. But one day I accidentally stumbled across a water-based process so simple and direct that it’s become the single-most-used method for most of my current transfer work. Unlike other processes involving a laser printer, Xerox machine, and/or chemical solvents, this water-based process can be done with an inkjet printer or any water-based media. Consequently it’s nose, skin, and, yes, even kid friendly.
Making a set of ceramic plates can be fun for the beginner, but is also easily adapted for the more-experienced student. This project presents a direct and fresh slab-forming approach resulting in plates that become great canvases for surface decoration. Materials are simple, inexpensive and readily available.
Today, North Carolina’s Catawba Valley is home to a thriving number of traditional and studio potters. Burlon Craig, who died last year at the age of 88, is considered one of America’s great folk potters. His work is part of the Smithsonian Institute’s collection and he was honored with the National Folk Heritage Award by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1984.
Flutes, whistles and ocarinas are known as airduct flutes and they come in many shapes and sizes. Their common characteristic is an airduct assembly, which makes it easier for a novice to play, since it removes the requirement that a player carefully position their mouth and lips in the precise way necessary to get a proper tone.
This project will help students assemble and sculpt the figure, using texture and proportion for effect.