Friday, March 18, 2011

Slab Construction

 In this section you will learn how to put clay plates together to make a piece of pottery. The slab may have excellent results if you take your time and do not rush the process.
(Spreading the clay)
  Begin with a smooth flat surface.  Place newspaper or cloth over the surface to prevent the clay from sticking to your work surface.  Spread the clay out by patting it with your whole hand.(Flipping the clay)
  To flip the clay over - carefully hold top and bottom of the clay with the palms of your hands.  This will prevent the clay from tearing while you are flipping it.
(Rolling out the clay)
  To help you roll your clay to an even thickness, place a yard stick on each side and roll out until the clay is the same thickness as your yard stick.
(Cutting your slabs)
  Use a ruler to help you cut a straight line. (Tip: If  you want a 90` corner - lay a piece of paper over the clay to show the 90' corner.)
(Let clay firm-up)
  After you cut out your bottom and sides, let them sit until the clay is leather hard.  For most clay's this will take about an hour.
(Score or Scratch the edges)
  When your clay is leather hard use a needle or sharp pencil to scratch the edges of the clay where the clay will be joined together.  A criss-cross pattern works well for this.
(Apply slip to edges)
  Make some slip by watering down a small amount of clay until it is the consistency of yogurt.  Apply the slip to the areas you just scratched.
(Applying the slip)
  Some potters use white vinegar instead of slip.  I have not had good experiences with vinegar.  I find I get more cracking in my pieces so I mainly use slip.
(Joining the pottery)
  When placing the edges together slide the two surfaces together in a slight back and forth motion to strengthen the bond between the surfaces.
(When you have a good bond)
  With experience you will get the feel of a good bond.  You will know you have a good bond when most of the slip has squeezed out between the two surfaces being joined together.  Also, the clay will not want to slide back and forth easily.
(Add a coil to the inside seam)
 To make the seem stronger place a coil in the corners of the piece.  Gently press the coil into the corner.  Be careful not to break your corner away.
(Smoothing out the coil)
  I like to use the top end of a brush to smooth out the corners.  Notice my other hand holding the corner so I don't break it away.
(The final touches - Corners)
  I use a damp brush to smooth out all the corners so the seams are no longer visible.
The final touches - Top edge)
  To smooth out the top edge use a wet paper towel and carefully slid the towel up and down the length of each edge.  This will round the edges so they will not be sharp.
(Measuring for a top)
  If you plan to make a lid measure the length and width of the piece and write down the measurements.  The piece will shrink as it dries and you will need these measurements to make the lid.
(Finishing touch - Handles)

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Making Coil Construction

In this section you will learn to make coils and how to make pottery pieces with them. Coil pottery is a simple technique that can have great results.

 (Roll out coil)
  Squeezing the clay into a coil or rolling between your hands are two ways to make coils.  This technique can be difficult to make a smooth round coil because of the uneven pressure from your hands and fingers.

(Roll out coil)
  When hand rolling coils, use a smooth surface and spreading your hands to apply even pressure.  Gently roll the clay back and forth.

(A good thickness)
  Roll the coils so that they are a little thicker than a pencil.  Then stack the coils one on top of another.

(Scrape inside)
   For strength, force the clay together on the inside of the piece.  Use you finger and scrape the top coil onto the coil under it.

(Smooth inside)
  When smoothing the inside of the piece hold you other hand on the outside so you do not damage what you have completed already.

(Leveling the top)
  If you want the top level, gently turn your piece over and lightly tap it on a smooth surface.

(Dry slowly)
  When you are finished with your piece let it dry slowly.  The grooves in the piece are weak spots and if this dries too quick it will crack. 

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At the turn of the century, the American art pottery was sometimes referred to as "the art of the devil." It seems funny now, but the Victorian purists were very serious.
At the time, the stakes have flocked to prayer meetings and revivals, and even sentenced laugh Sunday. In this nervous climate, pottery, American art was born.
How things are in our culture has always been the hook for me writing about things old. Against all odds, the creative spirit continues to create. No matter the obstacles. Regardless of the social climate.
American art pottery is a good example of this creative spirit. It happened because the two women, Mary Louise McLaughlin, Maria Longworth Nichols Storer.
Like many good ladies of the time, they have done their part of china painting. McLaughlin was part of a committee to select painted porcelain wares for the pavilion of women in the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. His group has been accused of lapses in taste, but it was one of the first attempts to see ceramics as an independent artistic medium.
Then the women began to divert their attention from china painting, knitting and Afghans to work in wet clay.
"Some terrible and wonderful things were produced," said McLaughlin.
In 1880, Storer was dissatisfied with the local temperature of the oven. So she built her own and a place in the first and perhaps the most important corporate art pottery, Rookwood Pottery in an old school in Cincinnati.
The company was named after his family estate Walnut Hills.Their first work was described as a wild experiment.
Storer workers, mostly women, many mingled in the gilding, carving and cutting. The company was one of the first companies in America owned and operated by women.
Over the years, she hired a good chemists, managers and artists to create Rookwood Pottery, which has won international awards. Recognizable artists like Kataro Shirayamadani, Carl Schmidt, Matt Daly and William McDonald AR Valentien put their trademark on the basis of the pieces they have decorated.
high quality crafts and the glazing has been characteristic of Rookwood. They have produced vases, dishes, figurines, bookends and tiles.
The Company Gorham silver overlay applied to pottery, and department stores like Tiffany's performed songs. visiting dignitaries made a point of stopping at Rookwood. Even Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde visited and bought items. The plant site of origin is a restaurant today.
Over the last 10 years, Rookwood Pottery has grown in popularity and value. It is easily identified by the inscriptions. On the base are the trademarks of a symbol or name for himself, plus a dating system. In addition, there are brands of clay showing what color or type of clay the piece came from.
Collectors look for traces of the beginning. The quality of the decoration is important and the artist. Be on the lookout for the second, marked by an X. Cracks and imperfections incised can significantly affect the value.
On June 3, Treadway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio, introduced an auction Rookwood. Take a look at some highlights.

Highlights of the auction:
Rookwood bookends, pair of Rooks (bird), brown and green matte glaze, William McDonald, 1929, 5 1 / 2 inches tall, slender, smart, $ 350
Rookwood vase, vellum glaze with carved and painted stylized flowers and leaves, Margaret McDonald, 1920, 9 inches tall, mint, $ 1,600
Rookwood vase, iris glaze cactus flowers, AR Valentien, 1902, 13 inches tall, mint, $ 11,000
Rookwood vase, brown glaze high image, full-length Native American Indian Hair Full, Matt Daly, 1900, 20 inches tall, mint, $ 12,000
Rookwood vase, painted high enamel harbor scene with seven boats sailing, Carl Schmidt, 1923, 13 inches tall, mint, $ 12,000 Rookwood vase, Iris glaze with thirteen poppies detailed Kataro Shirayamadani, 1907, 16 inches tall, mint, $ 32,500
Rookwood plaque, green sea with three birds perched on a branch, executed by AR Valentien, 8 by 10 inches, in a vintage oak, mint, $ 45,000

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