Sunday, August 21, 2011

Making Ceramic Pottery: Step 1

Variety of finished ceramic pieces made by Kristina Chadwick.

Everyone knows what pottery can look like, but the question is how do you get there? Well that's what I'm going to tell you in a series of posts.

This is me in my studio. I'm trimming a pot that was thrown on the wheel (learn more about both of these in future posts!).

My studio resides in a corner of the sunroom. In the pictures below you can see the wheel and all my supplies. I throw on the wheel while standing, it's easier on my back. The majority of potters throw in a seated position (who else remembers Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost?).

This is my studio and some of my tools. This is where I make the ceramic pieces (wheel thrown or hand build), decorate, and glaze them. Pottery is a messy business with clay splattering all the time. 

There are many processes involved in pottery, but let’s start at the beginning, with the clay, because you can’t make a piece of pottery without clay. Clay is a natural material, found abundantly around the world, in gardens, fields, along riverbanks and streams.  Clay is usually bought in 25 pound bags and must physically coaxed into a softer, more malleable state through a process called wedging. It’s much like kneading bread dough.  Once the clay is properly wedged it can be used for handbuilding or throwing on the wheel.

Where it all starts, with the clay.  I use clay that are different colors (white and brown) and fire in the kiln at different temperatures.

Tune in next time to learn about Handbuilding! 

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