On the Cover: Courtney Murphy’s Nesting Set, 15 in (38 cm) in diameter, earthenware with slip and glaze.

We’ve talked in the past about how we have general themes running through our issues like throwing, handbuilding or surface decoration. The theme for this issue is earthenware and we found artists use this low-range clay in quite different ways and for different reasons. Courtney Murphy loves working with colors and understands that they only show up on a pale background, but she also loves the rich terra cotta tones. Her solution is to apply a pale slip where she plans to decorate and leave bare clay to show off the dark body to add contrast to great success. Jane Sawyer does the same thing by freely running her fingers through a white slip to reveal the dark clay below. Judith King, on the other hand, uses a white earthenware clay because her focus is on the detailed colorful decorations she applies to the surface.


We also touch on a secondary theme for the issue—the large plaster mold—an essential tool in every studio! When concave, they’re great for slumping large slabs of clay where you can work on the surfaces or even support your constructions like Courtney does with her nesting bowls. When not in use, they’re perfect for reprocessing clay scraps. A large convex mold allows you to easily add feet and finish the exterior, like Judith King does before she decorates the surface.


I’ve made large concave and convex molds from a saucer sled before, and they’re great to have around the studio, mostly because they offer a world of creative possibilities. Take a look at John Conrad’s technique for making large plaster slump molds, and you’ll be amazed at how simple the process can be. And, you don’t need to have a specific project in mind to justify making one, just know that you’re on your way to making something really cool.

Enjoy your summer!

               Bill Jones, Editor


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In this issue:

Split Personality
by Judith Berk King

Judith Berk King was always torn between her love of drawing and her love of clay until she realized she could do both. By using a low-fire smooth white earthenware and her illustrating skills, she’s developed a technique for combining her two passions through colorful illustrations depicting alligators in Candy Land?


Nesting Bowls
by Courtney Murphy

After moving, Courtney Murphy wished that more of her stuff nested so that packing would be more efficient. This gave her the idea to explore nesting bowls, but hers are done with a unique twist—the bottoms are curved. Courtney’s technique involves terra cotta, slip, a large slump mold, tarpaper and fabric. Building up surfaces with a sense of depth can be a piece of cake with smart planning and a layered approach. See how Kip O’Krongly cuts stencils and combines them on a surface then augments the piece with sgrafitto. 


A Question of Balance
by Edith Garcia

Edith Garcia explores clay sculpture in her new book Ceramics and the Human Figure. In this excerpt, professional sculptor Arthur Gonzalez shows you how to construct a torso in clay. 


Go with the Flow
by Jane Sawyer

Jane Sawyer enjoys the throwing but not the making of rigid forms. Throwing earthenware forms is just the beginning as she makes incisions and cuts around the piece then closes up the gaps. The results are undulating asymmetrical forms with a somewhat whimsical flair.  Her final touch involves applying slip and running her fingers through it to reveal the dark body below.

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In the Mix: Nutmeg Remix 
by Deanna Ranlett

Atlanta Clay’s Deanna Ranlett takes a look at Richard Busch’s classic Nutmeg recipe and tries out a few variations.



Supply Room: Plaster Made Simple 
by Bill Jones

Editor Bill Jones boils down plaster mixing to what 98% of potters need to know to get successful results. Nothing fancy, just the bare essentials.



Tips from the Pros: In a Slump? 
by John W. Conrad

John W. Conrad returns to describe how to make one tool you can buy—a large plaster slump mold. Every studio needs one!




Instructors File: Teaching Pottery to Adults 
by Claire O’Connor

Claire O’Connor looks at different teaching strategies that have proven successful for her in teaching adults at the clay center.



Tools of the Trade: Rocking Stamps 
by Daryl E. Baird

Daryl E. Baird, author of From a Slab of Clay, shows you how to make your own semicircular rocking stamps from clay slabs for decorating slabs.


Off the Shelf: The Surface Textures of Jeremy Randall and Amy Sanders 
reviewed by Sumi von Dassow

Sumi von Dassow takes a close look at two recent DVD releases on surface decorations and comes up with her recommendations. Click on Jeremy’s and Amy’s links to see the reviews.


Pottery Illustrated: Leach Pottery
illustrated by Robin Ouellette


Robin points her skillful pen at the pottery offerings in Bernard Leach’s 1946 catalog. Classic forms will always remain in style.



To purchase this back issue, call 1-800-340-6532. 

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