Adero Willard applies repeated layers of underglaze and wax resist to develop the surfaces of her functional forms.

Finishing Touches


The law of inertia tells us a body in motion stays in motion. And the same goes for creative ideas, object making, and that thing you stopped working on to read this magazine. While not everything is meant to be finished, seeing a project through to the end is very rewarding. Whether it’s glazing a shelf full of bisqueware, reaching cone 10 in a gas kiln, or installing work in a gallery. The finishing touches refine your work and make it your own.


The editorial staff recently toured the printing press where Pottery Making Illustrated is printed. It was a no-holds-barred tour and we were in awe of the machinery, climbing, ducking, pointing, gaping, and asking too many questions as the huge presses cranked out page after page. Needless to say, we were absolutely giddy. Who doesn’t like a good factory tour? The rewarding part for us was finally seeing our publication through to the end—from acquiring content, editing copy, choosing images, uploading files, to finally holding the freshly printed pages just pulled from the press.


With this issue we showcase artists who excel at finishing. Adero Willard (pg. 22) shows you how to apply organic patterns next to geometrical ones to develop complex surfaces similar to quilting, Marcia Selsor (pg. 13) rediscovers the nearly lost art of Obvara-style raku firing for stunning results that you actually can control, Anthony Merino (pg. 29) teaches you how to map a patterned grid onto a rounded vessel, and Deanna Ranlett (pg. 6) explores some amazing commercial glaze combinations. We also have conical forms, pie plates, sprig design, and bonsai pots. And if you’re having trouble finishing what you started or are just plain stuck, check out Lisa Naples’ (pg. 35) tips for recharging and getting back in the studio. So go start something and finish it too!.—Holly Goring, Editor.



Read Pottery Making Illustrated online

As a subscriber, you can view the previous 6 issues of Pottery Making Illustrated online. To access an issue, click “view this issue online” on the back issues page and enter your account number (it’s on your mailing label). If you don’t have the number handy, click here to get online access to your account information.


It’s all about clay

There’s something a little weird about clay that’s hard to describe — when you get into, you’re hooked. And if you try to describe what it is to a non-clay person, they don’t get it. Pottery Making Illustrated is a magazine written for those of us who ‘get it’. It’s a magazine by clay lovers, for clay lovers, and it provides a place for clay lovers to share their passion and their discoveries.


Techniques that last

Every issue of Pottery Making Illustrated contains creative techniques on every aspect of clay — throwing, handbuilding, glazing, decorating, firing, rakuing, extruding, tile making, casting, and more (even some things you’ve never heard of). You’re bound to discover something completely new in each issue, and every technique you try is guaranteed to last a lifetime!



Proven methods

One of the best parts about PMI is that our writers know what they’re talking about. When you read about a technique, you can be sure that all the details have been worked out over the years with lots trial-and-error experiments. Once you learn the basics of a new technique, you can add your own flair to make it truly unique.


Pottery Making Illustrated is my best reference guide. I like the step-by-step illustrations and I always check before I start a new project.


Everything you need

We certainly put the illustrated in Pottery Making Illustrated. you’ll discover every issue contains dozens of images showing you how something is done. You’ll see messy hands, clay scraps, used brushes, even disorganized studios, but that’s pottery making at its best! And since most our contributors have spent years teaching, they anticipate questions and explain techniques for all skill levels. levels.


Pottery Making Illustrated is the best clay magazine for my beginning students. It gets them hooked from the beginning. BUT your magazine has matured and offers challenging projects, articles, etc. as well!


It’s up to you

With PMI’s detailed instructions, you can jump in anywhere and work your way through to the end of any process. As you gain experience, you’ll find yourself creating new variations of your own in no time! 


Pottery Making Illustrated bills itself as “Your Resource for Ceramic Techniques” and they work to be true to that statement. This magazine has a lot to offer, no matter what your level of involvement is in creating with clay. It is practical, very understandable, very well-illustrated, and has a friendly feel to it.


One of Pottery Making Illustrated’s great strengths is its usual article format which gives an explanation of a technique followed by a project demonstrating that technique. Another serious advantage of their articles is that they are written by experienced potters and clay workers, and that experience shows through. –Beth Peterson, About.com


A magazine that helps you be creative

As clay lovers, we enjoy working with our hands, and Pottery Making Illustrated helps make us more creative. PMI isn’t for browsing, it’s for doing. We don’t show you innovative art, we show you can be more creative.


“Please continue to keep the magazine practical and down to earth, that is what set you apart and why I love PMI and encourage my pottery students to subscribe. Thank you!”


“PMI consistently comes up with new techniques that I and my classmates try in the studio”


“Since I’m primarily teaching myself, PMI is a wealth of things I don’t know.”


All that other cool stuff

In addition to techniques, PMI provides you with tons of practical clay-related information. You’ll discover things you didn’t know about the latest tools and equipment that might make your time in the studio more enjoyable. Or maybe you’re looking for glazes and glaze combinations that might look good on your work—that’s there too.


In the Studio

There’s a lot of information on the Internet about ceramics, but it can be daunting to locate and decipher what’s good and what’s bogus. We’re constantly searching out information on clays, glazes, tools, equipment, maintenance, safety, underglazes, brushes and just about anything else you can imagine.


In the Kitchen

In 2013 we’re introducing a new department by Sumi von Dassow about pots and cooking. In each issue she’ll discuss the specifics you need to know for creating certain kitchen items in the studio. Whether it’s the type of clay, a special glaze, or particular shape, Sumi will touch on all of it.


Techniques you can use

Within every issue you’ll find 5 to 7 features on every aspect of working with clay. You’ll find articles on throwing, handbuilding, decorating, firing, extruding, sculpture and more. Every feature includes tips that will help you succeed faster than if you tried to figure something out on your own.


Educational resources

Over the years we’ve created a treasure trove of great ideas for teachers, students and clay lovers of all ages and levels of experience. We make these available on our Ceramic Arts Daily website as downloads to post in the studio or add to your notebook. Take a look.


Ceramic Studio Resources from Pottery Making Illustrated


Pottery Illustrated

Here’s our tribute to the “Illustrated” in our title—a back page filled with wonderfully rendered collections of forms, designs, motifs and anything else we think you’ll enjoy.