Second Stone Pot: Skills Practice and Research

Building on my coiled stone structure, I’m continuing coiling and adding in a slab.  The first grew organically, so I want this one to be controlled and more precise. I really liked the inside of the original, so I wanted to use that, too.

Original Form showing breakage from sanding

My hand-building book has a ‘how-to’ for a double walled bowl. However, the top slab has an overhang – so a coil of clay could be added for a stronger joint. This isn’t what I wanted, but I saw one by Jo Malone at Blackwell House that didn’t have an overhang.  If Jo can do it, so can I!

Actually, I gained comfort from the fact that Jo’s heart isn’t perfectly centralised.

Having made templates, I coiled the internal bowl.  Surprised how big it is – and heavy. Mike loaned me a bowl for support and helped me turn my bowl over. Thanks Mike. Meanwhile the slab was hardening to be cut out for the top.

Turning out the hardened central bowl was more difficult than expected – should have asked for help – and I think I’ve damaged it.  It’ll repair, no doubt. Bowl attached to top, I started coiling the outer bowl onto the top.  Part will be smooth, part ‘stoned’ because I want the bowl to sit at an angle. I’m not sure I’ll be happy with the joint between the stones and the top slab, but I’ll have to see what happens.

Love the internal supports – like buttresses.

Closing the Form

The bowl was completed without major mishap.  Happy to say the damage to the internal bowl was minimal. Had to wire the top of the board as I hadn’t put newspaper on first.  This caused some damage to the rim which I repaired – interesting to see if it holds when firing. Wasn’t sure what to do about the joint between the top slab and the stones, but that was easily solved by carving the excess with a metal kidney.

I’m a bit worried that the wall is too thin on the smooth bowl.  I’m letting it dry very slowly, and hoping for the best.  The thinness of the walls means I won’t be able to refine it as I’d have liked. I was going to sand the rest before bisque firing, but after the small breakage sanding the original form, I’m going to sand it afterwards.

I’ve since learned for James Oughtibridge how thick the walls should be to allow for refinement.  Also how to make better joints.

It was a good learning exercise, and it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be. Have to see what firing brings, and then test some glazes, oxides and slips for second firing.

NB remember to put newspaper under slabs to allow shrinkage.

Ceramicists Using the Honeycomb Motif

Judit Varga is a Hungarian, living in the US.  She is a lecturer in Ceramics at George Washington University. She does everything at the wet clay stage – cuts strips from slabs, then layers slips and engobes before firing. Not everything meets with her satisfaction. At least 50% is rejected, but is sometimes used with another piece.

Judit Varga

Debra Fleury lives in Oregon, and is interested in the lives of small creatures.

Debra Fleury

Rebecca Maeder is a Swiss ceramicist, with a varied practice. These form two series of her work:

Rebecca Maeder

Rita Miranda is Italian ceramicist, working in sculpture and jewellry. She Raku fires her work.

Rita Miranda

Barbro Aberg is Swedish, but lives in Denmark, and became famous in the US.

Barbro Aberg

Gabrielle Baecile is a French ceramic sculptor, born in 1965.  These forms were inspired by the Norman coast – anemones, sea creatures and caterpillars. I like the composite forms.

Gabrielle Baecile

Pamela Sunday says of her sculptures:

For years I’ve taken microscopic forms as inspiration. Each sculpture is then hand-built, starting from the basis of a simple sphere and then morphing into models that resemble magnified particles or clusters of cells.  I start by sketching, then trying out the idea in clay, attaching and refining components. Once dry, the piece is bisque-fired and glazed. I’m captivated with glaze chemistry and make most of my own right here in my studio.

Pamela Sunday


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