3 April 2014
Part II- Written Statement
Over the course of this term, the projects made in this class were pinch pots, a coil pot, a
slab box, and a sculpture. I learned proper technique in wedging clay, scoring and slipping, slab
rolling, glazing, and cleaning techniques. The main source, or inspiration, for my projects was
driven by my passion of nature, focusing specifically on water and ocean relating topics. An
artist that particularly stood out to me was Gary Wilson, who currently has his own line of ocean
themed pottery. In fact, I decided to take this class to make sculptures that complimented his
with similar hues of blue.
The first project I made this term was a practice pinch pot. This is when I first learned how to
properly wedge clay along with kneading. The pinching technique consisted kneading the clay
into a ball like structure. Once the clay is rolled into a ball, you use your thumb to push down in
the center, creating a hole. It's essential the hole is at least half an inch deep. Using your thumb
and index finger, pinch and press clay upward. Once the shape of my pinch pot began to come
together, I used a rib tool to smooth out the surface. The main challenge of this project was
getting the outer edges to create uniform length and width throughout the entire pot. The function
of my pot was to hold all of my rings. It works very well and I use it every day.
The next project we made in this class were the matching set of pinch pots. The same pinching
technique was used in this as well as the previous project. Although, during the matching set, I
was introduced to some new tools such as a fettling knife, which I used to even the tops of my
pots. I also used a plastic rib to smooth out the sides of my pinch pots and create an even surface.
The glaze I used on my set was navy blue and mossy green. The overall effect of the glaze turned
out very nicely. The main challenge of this assignment was to create identical looking pots, but at
different sizes. The measuring was strenuous, but the outcome was worth it. The main purpose of
my set was to create a functional pot that could indeed hold water.
The third project of this term consisted of creating a coil pot. The coiling method differs a bit
from pinching beginning with kneading. Instead of kneading the clay into a ball, we knead it out
into a snake like structure. From then on you shape and continue to knead the clay and stack each
of the pieces you make by scoring and slipping. This technique of scoring and slipping can be
described as using the needle tool to scratch the clay in criss-cross directions. The next part of
this is to add slip, which is a milkshake-like mix of clay, with a special slip brush to properly
attach clay together. The biggest challenge of this project was to score and slip correctly.
The fourth (and favorite) project we made this term was the slab box. This technique is entirely
different from either coiling or pinching because we use a tool called the slabroller to roll out and
flatten the clay. Then, we cut the clay with either a fettling knife or an exacto knife. I chos the
shape of a cylinder for my slab box, so i cut out a rectangle and placed in around a circular
object. After, I scored and slipped it together, I created a lid for my project and added a floral
texture with a button. This was my favorite project because the leather hard clay was easier for
me to work with and the two glazes I chose, blue ruteil and palladium, came out very nicely. The
greatest challenge was to create a lid that fit perfectly because I was using newer clay which
would ultimately fire differently than the initial piece i used.
The final project we made was a sculpture. I chose to make a dolphin. I used the pinch pot
technique to make the body of my dolphin. I then made fins with the slabroller. The hardest part
of this project was making the fins of equal shape.
Overall, I enjoyed this class very much and I think my project turned out fairly decent for a
beginner. Something I would've done differently would've been to experiment more with glazes.
The project and technique that worked out best for me was definitely the slabroller box. I also
enjoyed that the most as well as glazing my projects because it's very fun and interesting to see
how it comes out.