Pottery: Most Popular Articles
What is clay? What types of clay are there? Here is some basic information for you to understand the different types of clays used in pottery.
What are pottery and ceramics? Is there a difference? Is everything made out of clay pottery? Here are the answers.
An overview of the basic tools potters use in throwing and hand building with clay.
As a kiln is firing up and cooling down, the changes in temperature make some profound changes in the clay. A look at the stages.
Creating pottery can be a mild interest or a consuming joy. In either case, beginning to work with clay is an adventure. Here are answers to some questions that you may have as how to begin creating with pottery.
There are specific temperature ranges for firing glazes; individual glazes will mature within one of those five ranges. If the glazes are fired at too low a temperature, the glaze will not mature. If the temperature goes too high, the glaze will become too melted and run off the surface of the pottery. For success, a potter must know their glazes' temperature ranges at which they become mature.
Tells how you bisque fire pottery, including discussion on the best type of kiln to use, what temperature to choose, and the usual firing schedule or ramp.
It is important to have an overview of the firing process. Firing clay transforms it from its humble, soft beginnings into a new substance, ceramic. Ceramics are tough, strong, and very similar in some ways to stone. Pieces of pottery have survived for thousands of years, all due to clay that met fire.
Glazes can be applied to pottery in five main ways. These are dipping, pouring, brushing, sponging, and spraying the glaze on.
Working with clay requires certain things from the space we use. Here are some guidelines as to what you will need to consider when you are setting up your own pottery studio.
Definition of bisque, bisqueware and bisque firing.
Is pottery dangerous? How dangerous is it doing pottery? What are the dangers to myself, to my children, pets, or home?
There are so many choices of pottery clays, it can be baffling. How do you choose which clay is right for you and your pottery needs?
Definition given for the pottery term
Hand building slab pots has a strong history in certain parts of the world. It can be done while the slabs are either soft or stiff. Building with slabs can also be done using slump or drape molds.
There are a number of variables you need to consider before making the big decision as to the purchase of your own potter's wheel. Find out more here.
Before potters had the wheel, they were creating spectacular pots and clay forms. Using clay, their hands, and a minimum of tools they brought function and artistry together. Here are the three most common forms of producing hand built pots.
There four key types of components which are found in glazes. All of the various ingredients used in ceramic glazes fall into one (or more) of these categories.
You can apply wax crayons as a form of wax resist on pottery to create interesting decorative effects.
The term. Pottery.
Ceramic and glaze colorants follow some basic principals. These principals not only deal with the ceramic colorants themselves, but also the composition of the glazes and how they are fired.
Pottery can be decorated by marbling contrasting colored slips. This technique has a range of variations which result in different effects. Page 2.
Oxidation and reduction atmospheres are the two main kiln atmospheres possible when firing pottery. Both oxidation and reduction refer to the amount of oxygen available in the kiln while firing pottery.
Drying pottery and clay objects correctly is one of the most important steps prior to firing clay. Improper drying can result in cracking, warping, and breakage either before firing or during firing.
Centering clay on the potter's wheel effects all other steps of throwing pottery.
Kilns are fired according to firing schedules, which include how long the kiln will be firing at a certain ramp, or rate of temperature gain.
Decorating pottery using slip in the mishima technique is very similar to wood or stone inlay in its effect. Page 4.
Underglazes are used in pottery to create designs and patterns that will come up through the glaze covering them. There are different types.
The process of firing low-fire pottery, from dry greenware to finished pots.
Making the clay slabs is the first step in all slab-built pottery construction. This is an important foundation; mistakes made in the creation of slabs may destroy the piece in later stages of construction.
Wax resist is used extensively in pottery as a means of controlling glazes and other liquids. It has both practical applications, such as keeping the bottoms of pots glaze-free, and well as decorative applications.
Kilns are basically containers for heat. In the most primitive forms, this could be nothing more than a trench or pit dug into the earth. Today, there are many different types of kilns. Here is an introduction to some of the most common types used for pottery and the ceramic arts.
Even those new to pottery should be able to make large and intriguing creations using this method for coil pots.
Recycling clay scraps so they can be made into workable clay again can be done without any machinery.
Have you ever wanted to dig your own clay? Local clays can make wonderful slips and (when fired higher than their actual maturity temperature) slip glazes.
Fluxes lower the melting point of the glass formers in glazes, clay bodies, and other ceramic materials.
Painting on pottery can be done in a number of ways. Generally speaking, potters use underglazes, slips, engobes, and stains to paint on their work.
An introduction to raku, giving a history of the raku process.
What is throwing on the pottery wheel? How does throwing on the pottery wheel work?
The pinch pot method has been one of the two major techniques used to produce pottery. Discover its value and the various types of poetry it can produce.
Ancient Greek pottery kylix, or drink cup, in the style of the Arkesilas Painter. Page 26.
Three of the most popular methods to wedge your clay are the cut and slap method, cylinder wedging, and cone wedging.
Mishima techniques and tools and explored in this article. Mishima is a type of inlay which allows ceramists to create sharp edges and intricate designs.
Many objects can be used to make impressions in clay, not just tools specifically made for making impressions.
An overview of the different ways pottery and clay objects can be decorated.
Reduction firings can bring out some very wonderful colors in pottery. Many high-fire glazes are formulated for reduction, and will not work successfully in neutral or oxidation firings. How do you put a kiln into reduction when firing pottery? This article will guide you toward success.
: Bone dry (adjective) is a term used to describe and identified greenware pottery that has dried as
An explanation of vitrification in clay and glazes used in pottery.
Definition of the term leather-hard when used in pottery and ceramics.
When should a potter underglaze their pottery? Do you need to wait until the pots have been bisqued, or can you underglaze them as greenware?
Plumbing traps are used by many potters in their pottery studios. Page 2.
The three most-often used pieces of equipment that potters can use are kilns, wheels, and some form of equipment used to bring dry clay to usable form.
An overview of what glazes are and their characteristics will be very helpful if you are new to them. Glazes are very diverse. Not only are there a wide variety of colors, but also of opacity, surfaces, and temperature ranges. Here we will look at an overview of that diversity.
What are ceramic stains and how are they used in pottery. Are there different types of stains? Find out here!
Hand building with clay is fun. Good hand building clays make the experience even better. What are the characteristics of a clay body that has been designed for hand building?
Glaze defects can be caused by six situations. Find out more about those causes and the glaze defects they can produce.
A description of what horse hair pottery is and how to create your own horse hair pottery pieces.
Instructions for slab building a pottery mug.
Low-fire clays include red and white earthenware. low-fire clay bodies can be used for throwing and hand building pottery and ceramic sculptures.
What it means to score a pot or piece of clay.
Craftsmanship is the backbone of pottery and ceramics. Explore the craftsmanship and skills potters learn and use.
Electric kilns have very specific requirements in regards to voltage, phase, and amperage. Find out more here, before buying or installing an electric kiln.
Classes in pottery or ceramics can help you expand your technical and expressive voice in clay. They can also be great fun. You may have decided that you would like to take a class in pottery, but aren't sure how to find one. Here are some places to look.
What are pyrometric cones and how are they used in pottery? Here are the answers.
Stack and load the kiln carefully, observing several rules in order to reduce kiln accidents. Page 2.
Pinch pots are fast and direct molding of a small pot. Step three is to pinch out the walls and floor of the pot. Page 3.
Definition of grog, as used in pottery and ceramics.
Creating pots with slabs is probably the most technically challenging of the hand building techniques. Because of the structural stresses, it is important to create good seals and welds between slabs.
Kiln sitters are used in electric ceramic kilns as a fail-safe means of ending a firing once it has reached the target temperature, or slightly above. Once tripped, the kiln sitter automatically shuts off electrical current to the kiln elements.
In the thousands of years pottery has been practiced, one of the farthest reaching innovations was the introduction of electric-powered potter's wheels (pottery wheels). Electric potter's wheels allow potters to produce volumes of work even faster than before.
Steps, tips and suggestions on how to mix glazes for pottery.
There are many considerations to take into account before you buy a kiln. Buying a kiln is a major expenditure; take the steps to ensure that you will be happy with your purchase for years to come.
The entire process of forming a pot out of clay on the potter's wheel is generally called throwing. There are several steps within that process, such as centering, opening, throwing the walls, and finalizing the form.
How to burnish pottery, from the choice of clay to sealing a burnished pot.
What is crazing in glazes? Find the reasons for and solutions to the glaze defect know as crazing here.
: Clay body (noun) refers to the actual clay mixture that is used in forming objects. It might only have
Learn about kiln safety, protective gear, ventilation, and gases emitted during firing.
Crawling is a glaze defect. Find out what it is, why it happens, and how to correct this problem.
Two types of molds are used with clay slabs to create pottery.
Throwing on the potter's wheel makes some heavy demands on clay bodies. There are three key characteristics necessary for a clay body to work well for throwing.
Crystalline glazes are specifically formulated to encourage visible crystal growth in the glaze as it goes through the glaze firing.
Explore the types of pottery lids that are thrown on the wheel.
There are poisons in pottery that potters need to be aware of. In this time of readily available information and safety equipment, it is only common sense to pay attention to what can harm yourself or those around you.
The major elements of any three dimensional form include shape, value, space, texture, line, color, and time and movement.
Clay is plastic? Yes. Plasticity refers to its ability to bend and flex.
One of the specific types of glazes that potters tend to talk about are the ash glazes. The vast majority of ash glazes use wood ash, although some potters have developed glaze recipes using ashes from rice straw and hulls, reeds, seaweed, and hay straw, as well as the ashes from other plants. Normally, ash glazes require high-fire temperatures, usually falling between cone 9 and cone 11.
Most of us no longer go out and dig our own materials as a matter of course. The vast majority of modern potters order our potter and ceramic supplies from wholesale and retail suppliers. Here is a list of some of the online retailers of pottery and ceramics supplies.
There are a number of things that need to be considered when buying a used electric kiln. This article will tell you the questions you need answered in order to make a good buying decision when looking at used electric kilns.
'In the round' refers to working or seeing in three dimensions.
Recipes for low-fire pottery glazes.
How to make a colored wax resit for pottery by grinding colorant then adding wax resist to it. Although a powdered dry stain may also be used, this is an interesting way to use dried out underglazes.
A definition of ceramics. Pottery.
Artistry and aesthetics are as much a part of pottery as the technical side of pottery craftsmanship. Technical skill, artistry, and aesthetic design are all part of what makes pottery great.
Clay can be incised to create pottery decorations. Various incising tools will give differing incised lines. Page 4.
All clays shrink. But not all clays are created equal. Different clay bodies experience different amounts of shrinkage. It depends upon the clay's particle size and on how many and what type of impurities are present in the clay body.
This is a list of pottery and ceramic suppliers based in Arizona.
Ceramic stains can also be used as washes, not just for lines. Thin layers can be built up to increase the ceramic stain's density. Page 3.
You can make your own pottery shrinkage ruler. This will help you size new pots so they will be a specific size after firing.
Tips on what you should do before you begin glazing your pottery.
Engobes are slip-like liquids formulated with less clay in order to reduce shrinkage.
Kiln shelves are expensive. Be certain you get the right ones for your needs and care for them appropriately.
Throwing off the mound (or throwing off the hump) allows potters to make quantities of small pots or bowls very quickly. It is a technique that many production potters master and use as a matter of course.
Egyptian paste is a self-glazing form of pottery. The glaze materials are actual present in the clay body; no further glazing is needed.
Raku is a type of low-fire pottery which often uses out-of-kiln reduction techniques.
Where do you look to find a pottery kiln to buy? Ceramics require high temperatures that are difficult to reach without one.
Pottery vessels usually derive from basic vessel forms, in which basic forms can be used together in one pot with transitions between areas.
Problems with clay bodies can occur at any stage of pottery production. These clay body defects can usually, be avoided, however. For all of clay's versatility and incredible flexibility as a medium, it does need to be understood. Clay does make certain requirements of those who work with it, or problems will arise.
Take a look at the major pottery wheel brands that potters are using today. Information makes shopping for a new potter's wheel easier.
Your pottery skills will be greatly enhanced if you know the three foundations underlying of pottery-making. Your development as a potter rests squarely on practice, experience, and experimentation.
Begin weaving coils around the uprights for your pottery basket. Page 4.
Slapping the clay during cut and clap wedging needs to be done with a fair amount of force. Page 2.
What are mid-range and high-fire clay bodies? These clay bodies fall into two basic types, stoneware clay bodies and porcelain clay bodies.
Begin creating your own wedging table by drawing up a diagram plan for building the wedging table. Dimensions need to be personalized to fit your own height.
What is dolomite and how is it used in pottery.
The kickwheel, is the most common form of human-powered wheel used by modern potters in the United States today. Find out more about them.
Wax resist is a technique used in decorating pottery.
Jigger is a term in pottery referring to a mechanized method of production.
You will want to make handles for many pots such as mugs, pitchers, teapots, and so on. Here are several ways to make handles that are commonly used in pottery.
Once the initial coil pot has been formed, the surface and the walls can be refined through the paddle and anvil and the rib and hand techniques.
Pinholing and pitting are ceramic glaze defects. Find out what they are, why they occur, and how to solve the problem.
Aging clays in pottery is done to increase elasticity and improve workability.
Potter's needles have many uses in pottery. It is one of the most basic and versatile tools available, other than the potter's hands, themselves.
A compilation of ash glaze recipes.
Before the actual dip into glaze, you need to position the pot correctly. Page 2.
Safely packing pottery to mail or ship it takes the knowledge of how to pack it so it won't break.
Do you know the top five reasons why pots stick to kiln shelves? Find out the reasons and how to avoid them! Knowing can save you hundreds of dollars in shelf replacement, as well as spare you the unhappiness and frustration of finding your pots welded to your kiln shelves.
There are three main types of machines that process clay for potters. These are the clay mixer, the pugmill, and the pugger-mixer. Find out what each of these can do.
How to throw a basic cylinder on the potter's wheel, which then will be modified into a flay-sided bowl. Page 4.
Lusters, china paints, and overglazes are all glaze options that fire at very low (for pottery) temperatures.
Before centering clay on the potter's wheel, there are a number of steps that should be taken. These preparatory steps will work toward your overall throwing success.
Silica is one of the three main ingredients of clays and glaze materials.
The definition of the pottery term, frit.
If you are unfamiliar with them , it can be hard to understand and use glaze recipes.
Here are some ideas for great gifts for the potters on your gift list, from the small and inexpensive to the extravagant.
Thermal shock is a factor when pottery and other ceramics are cooling rapidly or used as ovenware.
Rolling your first clay coil is the second step to creating your coil-built pot. Page 2.
In pottery brushes have many uses, and these uses must be kept in mind when brushes are purchased.
Where do you look to find a pottery wheel to buy? Potters have several choices.
How do you begin to choose which glazes you want to use, especially if you are new to pottery? Here are some guidelines to help you make those choices.
Learn how to control dust in your pottery studio and avoid health risks.
Alkaline glazes in pottery have some very definite pros and cons. Find out more about these interesting glazes.
The pottery heart picture frame is a slab-built piece. For this project, you will need to roll out slabs for the front and back panels. Page 2.
Modifying a cylindrical form is the backbone of throwing pots. In this project, we’ll only slightly modify the basic cylinder shape to make a pleasing vase.
You will need: 1 - 2 lbs of clay, a canvas or plaster surface, a potter’s wheel, water or slurry, a natural sponge or equivalent, a 2 inch by 3 inch piece of chamois, a cutting wire, and a wooden trimming tool with a wedge point. Toweling to wipe your hands on is optional but a very good idea.
Images of ancient Greek pottery showing a diversity of types from alabastron to stauettes.
Knowing how to photograph pottery can make a sometimes frustrating experience into a rewarding one. Page 3.
The second step during cylinder wedging is to pull the clay back towards you. Page 3.
How to make a coil-built pottery mug with step-by-step instructions.
Raku clay bodies must be designed to be able to withstand the thermal shock involved in the raku process. Discussion includes factors effecting clay performance as well as raku clay body recipes.
The Shimpo VL-Lite is a belt-driven lightweight pottery wheel that is “lite” enough for a potter to carry yet sturdy enough to throw on. Page 3.
What is blistering in ceramic glazes, what causes it, and how to solve this glaze defect.