Transforming a Lump of Clay

in DIYHub7 months ago

Using clay to make a pottery piece is so satisfying. It is relaxing but it can also be challenging. I went to class Friday to work on the pottery wheel. I took some of my terra-cotta colored clay to make a larger bowl. My other bowls exploded in my kiln so I have to start this process all over again.


I started off with a lump of clay that was around 3 1/2 pounds. I took my time and wedged it thoroughly so that there were no air bubbles in it. Properly wedged clay is essential for working on the wheel.


I centered the clay on high speed, and then flattened it to a mushroom shape on medium speed. I added a small indentation in the mushroom so that I could use my CPVC tool to open it up.


That mushroom shape is as close to perfect as I can make it. At this point, I could have made a vase, a bowl, a pitcher, or any other cylindrical object, as well as a platter. I decided to make another bowl for now.


After I opened the clay up and started to raise the walls, I stopped short of the top which added a ring. Rather than smoothing out the ring at first, I left it there to see if I want it to use it in my final design.


After the bowl took shape nicely, I then used one of my small wooden ribs to remove some of the slip from inside and outside of the bowl. I used my wire tool to cut the bowl off of the bat, but I did not remove it from the bat. I covered the bowl in plastic so that it would dry very slowly and I will be able to continue to work on it during my class next week.

My teacher was very impressed with my skill development and talked with me about different possibilities for carving the bowl or adding other embellishments next week. I need to think about how I want the bowl to be used first.

One of my sisters asked me if the bowl could be used in the oven, and I told her yes. The final bowl will be high fired in a kiln using food safe glazes. I only use food safe glazes on my pottery. I want my vessels to be useful and purposeful in the kitchen.

One of my other bowls had been bisque fired and is ready to be glazed. I made little round balls for the feet of the bowl, so it will have to be a serving dish. It will be able to handle hot food though.



I am excited about the possibilities, and I am satisfied with my skill development.

Enjoy your day.