Monday, April 6, 2009

Pottery Demo - Vase

This week we are taking our "Spring Break" which we prefer to call Easter break. We always take Holy Week off from our homeschool work. It would be wonderful to take off for a vacation location... the beach (which is only three hours away from here) or the mountains (one hour) or even the desert (two hours) but we are content to be at home and just be free to NOT have school.

The weather today was spectacular! Mid 70's, sunny and breezy. We sunned and read and puttered. The boys rode their bicycles and practiced their archery.

I got some more much-needed time in the pottery studio. I'm getting ready to do a glaze firing in my gas kiln later this month. A preliminary bisque firing ( a low temperature first fire) will hopefully happen this week. Stay tuned for photos of that later.

I thought I'd show you the vase I made today. I did it in two parts as I usually do with larger vases. This one is only a medium height of about 14 inches.

These are the two parts I throw separately for the vase.

I hover the "bell" of the vase over the pot to get a feel for what it will look like. A pleasing shape is usually divisible by thirds. So the height of the flared top is about one half the height of the bottom, or one third of the entire height of the vase. That's a general rule but I don't do any measuring. I just eyeball it.

After I have let the two parts dry for several hours to become stiff (this is called "leather hard" in potter speak) I put the base of the vase back on the wheel to work on the joining of the two parts.

I then "score" the surface of the pot where the joint will be by scratching it with a pin tool. I then use clay slip (liquified clay) as the"glue" for the two parts.

On the underside of the top, I remove some clay to match the curve of the pot it will be connected too.

Then I score and slip that side of the joint also.

I then put the two parts together, wiggling them to work out any air and get a firm connection.

After making sure the two parts are even, level and centered, I work on the joint to make it smooth. If I do a good job, no one will be able to tell it was ever two parts.

This pot gave me some difficulty but I think I got it.

I decided to give this vase a sgraffitto decoration. This is done by carving into the pot with a special loop tool. I will finish it with a glaze that will accentuate that decoration.

Tomorrow - loading the bisque kiln!


  1. hey, i'm new to blogging and i came across your blog! i love to cook and eat also lol. your pottery and dog are lovely. you should check out my blog when i start making post :-)
    i'll be one of your blog followers!! thanks in advance

  2. You are a master.

    I need to take lessons again, will you come to Kansas and teach me how to use my kiln? I'm scared of it.

  3. You have a kiln?

    You're on your way, girl. And I'd love to come. But I'm afraid of your sister. :-)


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