Pottery lesson #5

We’ve now started our own work. I started one figure but due to very wet clay and an unwillingness to stand there with two hair dryers I started another.

This is the second one.


It will have head but that will be modelled next week.

Hopefully I’ll remember to take pics of the first figure too.

Argh! Forget the first one, the second figure is taking much longer than expected and I’m doing it outside of class too.


So initially it was going to be a small girl but the proportions were all wrong, so it became a young woman, but after a while, based on her trout pout, I settled on a mermaid.

Here she is, in the damp cupboard. Very very slow drying to protect her hair.



Hurrah! After a concerted effort to push all the class pieces through the firing process, meaning my mermaid was left on the paid for shelf for several weeks, she finally made the kiln for her bisque firing. She’s in there now.

She was intended for the raku firing last week but it turns out she is too big, too heavy and too delicate for the raku tongs.

Can’t decide how to glaze her…


Small bottles

Whilst waiting for coils to dry on my larger projects I often may with thumb pots to see what happens.

This one became a small bottle.


It’s only about 3″ high. I may do a series of them.

A big big bowl

I made this with a mould by coiling. I wanted to continue the shape into a gourd but unfortunately it dried too quickly to do anything else with it.

Glazing it was difficult due to its size and my inexperience.


The outside is a cream glaze, the inside is this glaze …


You can see from the tile that depending on thickness the glaze varies from a copper to a blue.

Ewe and lamb

I like thumb pots. They can develop into anything. Inspired by a book from the college bookshelf I ripped off created a ewe…and her lamb.


I usually do these smaller projects whilst I’m waiting for larger ones to dry.


Well, I managed to glaze the lamb but totally messed up her mum by coating her too thickly. I had to wash her off and so I’ll glaze her another day, when I’m feeling brave again.

Here she is! The little lamb.


Mum is still waiting to be glazed.

Space Egg

Initially this was going to be a big pebble. I wanted to make two huge thumb pots and see what happened and a pebble was what I had in mind. Something substantial, smooth and tactile.

But I need an all important air hole so it would be a pebble with a hole. But you can’t just have a hole. A hole needs to be a feature. A meaningful hole. So maybe a series of holes…but someone who attends the drop in centre has already created a similar project so I want something different (better?)

So a pebble with holes. Not a pebble then. Obviously it’s going to be a Space Egg. In that case it needs to be intriguing…space like. Alien egg. Hmm…

Something I’m fast learning with hand building is that unless you know exactly what you’re doing, and able to stick to it, presumably with some reference material such as drawings to keep on track, you’re going to find that clay tends to do its own thing. This isn’t a bad thing of course because creativity is something that can develop a beautiful item just by chance.

So, back to this egg pebble.


It was too thick for the holes I intended to put into it and too heavy overall. I also wanted to glaze the inside of the egg so it had to be thinner so the viewer could easily see inside, which meant it really ought to be smoother inside for the glaze?

Thinner and smoother means get the cheese wire!


…and cut it in half, then scrape and shape, finally smoothing off with a damp sponge.

Whilst it’s in this state it’s occurred to me that I could have something inside the egg, a ship in the bottle…another egg?


Should there be something intriguing about this egg? A crack? Big enough to see there’s nothing inside? That’s it’s escaped? Hmm… πŸ™‚


So this is the egg inside an egg. Glazing is going to be tricky do I decided to use coloured slip.


The inside of the small egg is yellow. The outside is blue. The inside of the outside egg is a mottled green. I’ll probably do the outside of the outside egg blue too. Got that? I think I’ve remembered the colours correctly. As you can see they all look a bit muddy.

Pottery lesson #4

We’ve done the drawing bit. Now we’re back into the clay. We built a figure directly from life so Sue our model looked a little like this.



These are now slowly drying prior to firing in the Raku kiln. But we’re not doing this until June 😦

A new coil pot

I have an idea for this pot. I’m very inspired by Carol Long pottery so I’m hoping this will turn out as strikingly organic as her creations.


Ha ha! I wish…

So I’ve got as far as this. I’ve a long way to go. Pun not intended πŸ™‚


I’ve done a lot more to this pot but I haven’t been updating my post.


I flipped the base of the pot over so that I could build the feet. Rather than try to create equally similar feet I was inspired by Carol Long to do something completely different.


As soon as the feet were dry and able to support the weight and flipped the pot back over to continue its build.


After further drying I was able to cut away the original base to expose the hollow feet.


The pot is growing considerably larger than I think I initially planned. It’s also drying quicker than planned, an issue caused by unforeseen delays in construction. It’s also developing a pronounced bottom…complete with cellulite.


I had no idea what I was going to make when I made this pepper. A lumpy vase started to form in my hands. Rather than immediately smooth the lumps out I smoothed between them and started to see a pepper forming. A pot with a lid perhaps? The stalk could be the lid. A pepper pot!


I burnished the pepper with a lightbulb and spent some more time smoothing the lid into the pepper. To do this, to stop the lid from sticking in, I covered the pepper with cling film so that I could remove the lid.

At each stage if hardening I burnished the pepper again and again to make sure it was as smooth as the real thing.

I’m still undecided on how to glaze this pepper. If the glazes aren’t realistic in colour, I make have to go for monochrome instead. It hasn’t been bisque fired yet so plenty of time to ponder.


Here it is. I’ll add the glaze info later for my own reference.

Fingers crossed now. It’s on the shelf ready for firing.

I’ve completely forgotten which glazes I used. I know they’re earthenware, and I know one is maroon… That’s it. Oops.

I also need to tip the bucket of glaze before I dip to make sure it’s deeper for more coverage.




Coil pot

I’ve tried thumb pots in the Drop In, and I’ve tried hump moulds. I needed to try a coil pot.

Inspired by some beautiful pots on Pinterest.


I didn’t realise this pot would take so long. You have to let it dry periodically so that the pot doesn’t collapse on itself through the weight of damp clay.




Dried and ready to fire.


..along with a small bottle made with thumb pots.