5 Ceramic Techniques You Should Try
Ceramics are quite possibly the most ever-present of all art forms to have emerged from human history. To this end, the oldest known ceramic figurine, Venus of Dolní Věstonice, has been traced back to the Czech Republic during the Upper Paleolithic period in 29,000-25,000 BC. Ceramics in its various forms have survived for millennia and the medium continues to be explored today. As such, here are 5 ceramic techniques you should try, no matter your level of experience.
The relationship between the hands and clay is the basis of all ceramic forms and the natural inclination to form and shape something becomes prevalent as soon as you put your hands to clay. Objects created through hand building make use of a combination of joining slabs, pinching balls of clay, and creating coils and this form of ceramic art has taken centre stage in the art world. As Adam Welch an art lecturer at Princeton University put so eloquently: “It seems most adequate to fight the slickness of conceptual art and most adaptable toward a return to an inner impulse.”
If you would like to make use of the pinching method, shape a piece of clay into a small ball roughly the size of your hand. As you hold the clay ball, press your thumb into the centre of the ball, roughly halfway down to the bottom. The next step may sound tricky, but we can assure you that it’s as simple as real money pokies NZ! Revolve the ball with one hand, pressing the walls out evenly with your thumb on the inside and your fingers on the outside. Finally, smooth out the surface with a damp sponge.
Start your slab construction by rolling out a flat and wet piece of clay with a rolling pin or slab roller. Soft slabs will naturally warp and bed during the creation and firing, so be sure to roll out the slab repeatedly on each side. Once you’ve rolled out the slab to perfection, create another and stack them with a smooth and wrinkle-free material between in order to prevent distortion. Then, cut each individual slab into shapes and connect them to form an object.
Using your fingers, roll out pieces of soft clay into long, thick strips of approximately 6-12mm wide each – it should resemble thick pasta noodles – and smooth out a plate of clay. The plate of clay created will become the base on which the coils are stacked. Once you’ve layered the clay coils on top of one another, ensure that they are securely joined by scoring and slipping them together.
Drop a ball of kneaded clay with some forced onto the centre of the wheel’s head and then, with a bowl of water, wet your hands and the clay as the wheel spins rapidly. Cup the clay in your hands and use your legs to keep your body steady, while bringing the clay into a tower shape. Keep the clay centred on the wheel for an even rotation and appearance.