Art of Ceramics

Essay by ariannadiazHigh School, 11th gradeA+, October 2014

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A. Diaz


Ceramics I

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.