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00 Instructors File

00 Instructors File

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Published by Stefan Van Cleemput

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Published by: Stefan Van Cleemput on Sep 14, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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ve always been drawn to ceramic works that reflectthe nature of the clay itself. I enjoy soft curves,warm to subtle colors, and matt or semimatt finishes.I also like to see the marks of the making process.Vessels inspired by geology and oceans, which I callearthscapes and seascapes, are a result of this preoccu-pation. Although they are essentially spherical inshape, they are not made on the wheel or by coiling,but rather by using household bowls as molds.The method is quick and easy, and the resultingcreases, folds and fissures within the stoneware orraku clay underline the earth and water theme. Theyhave tiny shell and fossil shapes applied to the surface,and indentations of fish shapes, gravel patterns andplant life. The colors are blues, greens, yellows andbrowns for seascapes, and reds, ochres, browns,oranges and greens for the earthscapes. I use under-glaze colors and oxides flicked on with a toothbrushfor the main body, and brushed-on glazes on lips, han-dles, and to accentuate detail. The choice of clay bodywill have an effect on the final colors of the pot, so alight-colored body gives truer colors.
Instructors File
Nature in a Bowl
Choose a suitable bowl. One of my favorites is a metal 5
(literally “bucket” in Pakistan) dish, originallyintended for cooking South Asian cuisine. You can use smaller orlarger bowls with equally successful results.
July/August 2006
PotteryMaking Illustrated
Earthscape and seascape vessels inspired by geology and oceans, slab built infound form, finished using a toothbrush decorating technique.
Line the bowl with strips of paper or plastic wrap so the clay won’tstick. Push in as one piece and don’t be concerned with creasessince the random lining of the bowl adds a creased texture.Start with a piece of wedged clay about the size of your fist. Rollout a
-inch-thick slab into a roughly round shape. Place this inthe bottom of the bowl to form a hemisphere for the base.Roll out a thick coil of clay and flatten with a rolling pin or yourhand. Lay the coil around the edge of the disc, overlapping itabout
-inch. There’s no need to score or wet the edges since thetwo pieces of clay are at the same stage of plasticity.Continue until the inner surface is covered with clay. Smooth alljoins with your fingers, pressing the clay against the sides. Trim thetop higher than the rim of the mold, and bend outward and down-ward to form a lip for joining the second clay hemisphere.Allow the clay to stiffen a little. It should be firm enough to holdits shape, but soft enough to take the textures you’re going tomake in the next stage. When the clay is firm enough, tip out yourshape and remove the paper.Cover the hemisphere and make a second one. Score and slip thetwo halves, then join the halves together, giving them a slighttwist and tapping. Lute excess clay into the joint and trim obviousbulges with a metal kidney.
PotteryMaking Illustrated
July/August 2006
and position near the pot’s surface. Draw a flat woodenstick from the farthest edge of the brush towards youso that the color is flicked on to the surface of the pot.Experiment with thinner and thicker consistencies of color, or by holding the brush closer or farther awayfrom the surface to achieve the effect you want.
While the ready-mixed colors are more vis-cous and need thinning for flicking from a toothbrush,they adhere to the surface better than powders mixedwith water. To use the oxides, mix them with water.Using a toothbrush gives an airbrush effect, althoughthe droplets are coarser and more inconsistent than thespray from a gun. For health and safety purposes, usean appropriate mask while flicking and thin water-proof gloves to prevent skin contact. Advice is alwaysreadily available from the manufacturer of your colors.Overlap color on color, merge edges and mix colorstogether before you flick—experiment! After all, if youdon’t like the effect, you can wash everything off andstart again. Don’t worry if color or oxide goes over theglaze because that’s what gives the interesting effects.What you should end up with is a pot with areas of color blending into one another with no sharp edges.Generally speaking, moving in tone from areas of dark color to light gives the best effect.
PotteryMaking Illustrated
July/August 2006
Carefully cut a hole in the top of the sphere. Put your mouth onthe opening and gently blow into the pot to help reform any dis-tortions of the shape. Add a coil to the opening with a roll of clayabout
inch in diameter.
Glazing and Color Blending
To get a blended natural finish, use a selection of prepared underglaze colors, oxides (my choices arevanadium, copper carbonate and red iron) and brush-on glazes that mature at a temperature appropriate tothe clay. After glazing the inside of the pot with a linerglaze, I sometimes paint glaze onto textured area, thensponge off so that the glaze fills the indentations.Because I enjoy the unpredictability of results, I glazeselected areas before adding color to the main body.For the main body of the pot, flick on the color. Thindown ready-mixed color or mix a small quantity of powder color with water. Load a toothbrush with color
 Judy Adams
is a freelance writer and ceramic artist based in Lincolnshire in the U.K. She sells stoneware potterythrough galleries in the U.K. and has conducted work-shops in a school for young people with learning difficul-ties. She is a regular contributor to
Ceramic Review
Texture adds to the aesthetic of a piece, disguises the seam andstrengthens some of the deeper fissures. Add texture running fromthe base toward the opening using things like twigs, bark, pebblesor other organic forms, paying special attention to the seam.To flick on glaze, load a toothbrush with thinned-down commer-cial glazes or underglazes. Position the toothbrush near the sur-face and draw a flat wooden stick over the bristles. Experimentwith different colors and thicknesses of glaze.

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