The simplest pot to make is a pinch pot. As the name refers you are
going to pinch the clay till it resembles a pot. The only limitation on
this pot is that your fingers are only so long so the pot is going to
be so big. The shape can be what ever you like. In my explanation I am
going to show you how to make a small bowel. This bowel can be
decorated to your hearts delight but I’m not going to go over
decoration till Chapter .
will need for this pot are:
Get a ball of clay and cut off a piece about the size of a medium
apple. Shape it into a ball again smoothing out most of the creases and
lines with your thumb. Hold the ball of clay in one hand, use the thumb
on the other hand to squish a hole in the center about 2/3ds of the way
down. Don’t go too deep because you don’t want the bottom too thin.
still inside the clay ball, start pinching around the base
of the ball creating a bottom and base sides. You will notice around
the top of the pot some stretch and stress marks. Just smooth them out
with your fingers.
the starting of a pot. Set the pot on your work surface and
cover the top of your pot with the palm of your hand and gently but
firmly force the clay down so that the bottom is flat.
after this you can quit and you have a pot. The rest is
up the pot in one hand and place your thumb back inside.
Your fingers are going to be on the outside. The movement you are going
to use is pinch with your thumb using your fingers as a stop(need
better word) sliding your thumb up. Then turn the pot in your hand and
rotate around the base of the pot with the pinch slide up motion.
complete this motion all around, you are going to smooth the
lip of the pot using your finger like a pencil eraser. You need to keep
an eye on the lip in case it gets too dry and the stretch/stress marks
will not smooth out. This means that the lip is dry and needs moisture.
Wet your sponge and squeeze out the excess water (you want the sponge
to be a little more than damp but not soppy). Pat or wipe the lip with
the sponge. You will notice that the clay will absorb the moisture. You
don’t want to make the lip soppy but just moist again so it will
continue to be plastic and workable.
the stretch/stress marks out. This is an important
technique because clay dose have a tendency to dry out. Any time you
have stretch/stress marks anywhere on your pot, that won’t smooth out,
use your sponge and dampen the area and you should be able to smooth
going to put your fingers on the inside and thumb on the
outside and use the same motion of pinching and smoothing up. Then use
a combination of pinching and smoothing to thin out the pot. You will
feel with your finger the lumps and bumps.
the shaping of your pot starts for real. Play with it. Make it
into a shape that is pleasing to you. If the lip flares out too much
for your liking set the pot down on your work surface and pinch around
using both hands pinching towards each other slightly.
to know when to stop. Sometimes you will have a nice shaped pot
and think if I do some more it will look better. I can’t tell you how
many pots I have ruined not stopping when I first thought that was
enough. When you are satisfied with the shape of the pot, put it down
and let it rest for a while. Moisten the lip with your sponge, covering
the pot loosly with a plastic bag or a damp (wrung out) cloth. You can
stop now if you are happy with the pot, still cover the pot to slow the
drying time down. I’m sure if you have followed my directions you will
have a lovely pinch pot. You will be able to work on the pot more or
decorate it as you please but it needs to rest and become leather hard
at this point.
THE STRUCTURE OF A POT
A pot has 4 main parts a bottom, a base, walls and a lip. It is
important to keep all of these in proportion to each other. The bottom
of the pot needs to be tick enough to hold shape while building the
pot. So if you have a bottom that is too thin, your pot will fold over
in your hands while you are building it. If the bottom is too thick the
pot will be bottom heavy and the balance of the pot will feel off. The
base of the pot must support the walls and the lip. It must be wide
enough to balance the pot so it won’t fall over every time the wind
blows. The walls of the pot should be pretty even in thickness. The lip
of the pot should be a little thicker than the walls so that the
structural integrity (stresses) of the pot will help it be strong.
CAUTION: you cannot put a solid piece or a really thick piece of clay
in a firing because it will explode due to uneven drying. The solution
to this is to hollow out the piece and turn it while drying so the
drying will be even...