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.

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In this issue

Ranlett_SO14 Balaban_SO14

Deanna Ranlett

Creating Commercial Glazing

Robert Balaban with Aleks Byrd

Create Sprigs Using Online Tools

Selsor_SO14 Zoller_SO14

Marcia Selsor
Obvara-Style Raku
This nearly lost raku technique allows you to play with varied surfaces for some dramatically differing results.

Nancy Zoller

Making More of an Impression
Construct simple bisque-mold templates in order to form intricate three-dimensional pottery pieces.

Willard_SO14 Merino_SO14

Adero Willard
Inspired by Cloth and Clay
Use a variety of techniques and tools on the same piece to add contrast and complexity–similar to sewing a patchwork quilt.

Anthony Merino with Pam Luke

Painting Patterns on Pots
Math challenged? Never fear, you can still create complex glaze, underglaze, or slip patters using simple tools.


Naples_SO14 Manley_SO14

Lisa Naples
Getting Unstuck Through Play, Process, and Practice

A long break from the studio or finishing a large project can leave you feeling creatively drained. The solution? Play. 

Thomas Manley
From Paper to Clay: Creating Conical Forms

Building complex slab forms can be tricky. Reduce the trial-and-error phase with conical templates. 

SumvDassow_SO14 Robin_SO14

Sumi von Dassow’s In the Kitchen 

A Pie Plate for Pie Season

Pottery Illustrated by Robin Ouellette 

Bonsai Pots




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