Theme: Handbuilding

Handbuilding is the oldest forming method for potters, and even after many millennia of use, even some of the most ancient techniques still provide infinite opportunities for exploration. From rolling out slabs from the inside and fabricating architectural screens to making pots and wall panels inspired by the quilting process, there’s no end to the possibilities for working without a wheel.

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Handbuilding on a Stick
by Mitch Lyons

Discover a method for forming and decorating a pot at the same time. By inserting a series of sticks of increasing diameter into a thick coil of clay, you can roll out a seamless cylinders. Lyons provides all the how-to information and also demonstrates his technique for rolling colored slips and clays into the surface for decoration.

Piece Work: Quilted Wall Tiles
by Amy Sanders

Here’s a technique for creating larger pieces from smaller parts. By borrowing a concept used in quilting, Amy demonstrates how to create ceramic tiles composed of individual slabs of textured and modeled clay parts. Her experiences with sewing breathed life into her clay work, and the patterns, textures and seams from fabrics and textiles now appear in her clay vessels.

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Eva Kwong: Biomimicry
by Anderson Turner

Eva Kwong is one of the best known ceramic artist working today. Her iconic biological forms appear in many books and shows and range in size from large “huggable” pieces smaller works. In this step-by-step how-to, Eva shares the technique for making her signature organic sculptures.

Contemporary Jali Screens
by Muhannad Hassan Kashigar

Kashigar’s jail screens are rooted in Islamic architecture and Persian pattern traditions. The stacked and mortared ceramic stiles provide air ventilation and a contemporary feel to semi-private partitions. Born into a family in Sindh, Pakistan, Kashigar’s family has worked in clay for many generations and he continues the tradition.

In the Mix: Lose Weight, Get Strong
by Lisa Merida-Paytes

If you’re looking for a way to make your ceramic pieces lighter and stronger, Lisa shares her technique for making paper clay. Made with any type of clay, paper clay enhances green strength, decreases warping, improves joining capabilities in wet-towet and dry-to-dry situations or even attach wet paper clay to bisqued paper clay.

Tools of the Trade: Choosing a Slab Roller
by Daryl Baird

Daryl Baird gives some guidelines on determining if a slab roller is right for you, and explains some of the different options available.


Supply Room: Adding to Clay
by Bill Jones

You can get a variety of effects by adding materials to clay. Whether you’re looking for fired strength, texture, or green strength, there are plenty of opportunities with the addition of anything from grog and fibers to soybeans and barley.

Tips from the Pros: Stretching Exercises
by Bill Shinn

If you’re interested in surface treatment on wet or lether-hard clay, you can expand the possibilities of your designs by simply stretching your clay after texturing the clay. Bill explains his technique that you can stretch to your own needs.

Instructors File: Action Figures
by Dee Schaad

Teachers can get students to bring meaning to their assignment with a simple handbuilding technique. Dee says that content in a work of art comes from the artist’s desire to share a specific idea and that content can be profound or simply a personal statement.

Off the Shelf: Ceramics for Beginners: Hand Building by Shay Amber
Review by Sumi von Dassow

Shay Amber includes a respectable range of projects to give the beginning potter a foundation in the basic techniques of pinching, coil-building, and slab-building.

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