Tag Archives: clay

Awkward Clay Mug

I made this mug in my clay studio class in October, 2019, and it took me about 10 minutes or less to form.

Roll out a slab of Standard clay #112, a sandy-color clay with small specks. Fold it into a cylinder, put a bottom on it, attach a handle.

Bisque fire it. Then double-dip glaze it. Fire it again at cone 6. Done.

I used opalescent and some other glaze (can’t remember, did not write it down!) and overlapped them to create three colors on this mug.

It is bottom-heavy and off-shaped. Somehow it still manages to appeal to me. I have decided to spend some time in making mugs in this next session of classes. This little guy is my inspiration to see what I can make of the form.

Potheads in Progress and Finished

I made a group of pothead vessels for my friend John G. He’s got some plans for them involving plants, and I know the potheads will be happy, because John has a green thumb.

Here they are in progress, just formed:

and finished – a couple of views.

And the others:

Clay figurine vessels John G 10-19 Group 2 view 13

Tower of Heads

I made this sculpture in August, 2019. It’s done in low-fire white clay fired at cone 06 and colored with Velvet underglazes and is about 14″ tall.

Here it is after the bisque firing.

And here it is, finished. Let’s twirl it.

And here are the four sides lined up together.

And some detail views.


A Vessel made in my studio clay class

Here is another vessel I made in my studio clay class at a local art center. It’s the first thing I worked on back in September.

Originally I wanted to make a coffee mug. It came out a little large, but if you were an enthusiastic hot beverage drinker, the more the better, right? It also had a loopy handle that I liked.

Well, in the bisque firing the handle fell off so it became a vase or something like that. All good, it didn’t really matter to me.

To create the vessel I rolled out a slab and poked it with some wooden dowels I had. Then I made it into a cylinder and added a bottom (and the ill-fated handle).

After the first firing, I dip glazed it to make three color areas. I waxed its bottom so that glaze would not adhere in that area. Then I used a gloss black and an opal glaze. I held the mug at an angle and dipped it, bottom first, into the first glaze, swished it, and then poured it out of the interior, letting it set up for a minute.

Then I rotated the vessel and, this time holding it with tongs, repeated the first step with the second glaze, overwashing an area of black glaze while covering all of the rest of the vessel.

Then the item went back through the kiln and emerged looking like this. I am showing you the three colors that emerged – black, opal, and a beautiful blue that resulted from the interaction of the first two colors. The first picture shows where the seam was made and where the handle was to go.

Here is the inside. You can really see the interaction of the colors here. You can also see that I poked out some indentations on the interior, as it just seemed to me that it might be something interesting.

Clay vase three tone 10-19 #44

Bonus – Small Dish

I showed you the Big Tall Thing I made in my recent studio clay class.

As you know, it was constructed from a large slab of clay, colored with underglazes by using stencils, rolled into a cylinder, and turned into a vessel. When I cut the shape for the vessel there was a small area left. What could I do with it? I liked the decoration of it, surely there was some use it could be put to. My teacher had a suggestion.

First, I used the 4″ tile cutter to create a square. Here is what happened next a description of the technique she showed me.

You take the tile (which is still flexible clay – this won’t work if the clay has stiffened so that the shape is rigid, but it also should not be fresh wet clay right from the bag – use your judgement) and set it on a piece of foam rubber, or a pillow. Something soft.

Then you take a piece of wood, or something rigid like that, smaller than the square. You need this piece to fit on top of the square with about 1″ or so space all around. I used a 2″ square small block of wood for my 4″ clay square.

Then, you take this block and center it, resting it lightly on the tile. Pounce it down on the tile, using some force. You take it down and up in one quick motion (not lifting it from the tile) – you don’t press it on the tile, you pounce it. Or bounce it it. I don’t know, but in any case, the tile sinks into the pillow, the portion covered by the wood block staying horizontal and the sides of the tile bending up.

Then you do it one more time, same motion, maybe a little harder. Carefully separate the wood block from the tile.

What you end up with is a shallow dish with raised sides, like this (note – this view is after the piece was glazed). You can see how the sides were forced up and the mark of the block.

Pounce dish 10-19 top view #2 view3

Here is a top view.

Pounce dish 10-19 top view #1 view4

I let the dish dry for about a week, and then it was bisque fired. Then I waxed the bottom to form a resist (as you know there cannot be glaze on the bottom of a piece or it will adhere to the kiln shelf when fired…very bad thing) and dipped it in a clear glaze. Here is a view of the bottom after the glaze firing:

Pounce dish 10-19 back view2

It’s a simple but very effective technique. Other people in the class made dishes using this technique, and not all of them were squares – some people made long rectangular items, for instance. You just choose your pouncing block according to the shape of your dish. I think you could do the same thing with a circular piece of clay and using a ball, say.

I liked the look of this and I will be using the technique again, I am sure.

Big Tall Thing I made at the clay studio class

I made this vessel in October, 2019, at my clay studio class.

To construct it I rolled out a large slab and stenciled random designs using underglaze. I made the stencils by cutting magazine papers, wetting them, and laying them on the clay, then painting underglaze over them.

I layered several colors and different shapes to make the design.

Then I squared up the clay into a large rectangle, formed it into a cylinder, put a bottom on it, and added the snaggletooth decoration at the join.

The vessel was bisque fired. Then I dip glazed it – gloss black for the inside and clear on the outside. Here it is, several views. It’s hard to get the full effect of the colors due to reflections, but I think these photos give the idea.

Standard clay #112, various underglazes and glazes, fired at cone 6.