The venerable clay Pottery has its roots deep in ancient history. Clay pots remain beautiful, and are functional works of art and craft.
Pottery is a craft that appeals to all ages. Children have the pleasure of making homemade playdoh or purchasing it in the store and letting their imagination take over. Adults tend to be a bit more practical. They create items that can be displayed, used on the table or even used as an indoor or outdoor planter.
For adults and older children, the most basic pottery project to begin with is a coil pot. And while the procedure to make a coiled pot is relatively easy (you don’t need a potter’s wheel), it is also quite versatile. Let’s take a look at how make your first clay pot.
- Clay (can be purchased at your local craft store). Look for clay that can air dry or that can be fired in your oven
- Hard, flat surface (one you don’t mind getting messy)
Step 1. Warm the clay. Warm clay is easier to mold and bend to your will. Kneading it with your hands for a few minutes will get it warm and pliable. However, take care when folding the clay repeatedly because you can cause air bubbles to form. Air bubbles will weaken your pot’s structure.
Step 2. Roll your clay into a long rope. The diameter of the rope will be the thickness of your pot, so keep the purpose and the size of your pot in mind. It’s important to know that your pot will shrink as it dries. Generally, your final pot will be about 10% smaller than the original.
Step 3. Build your pot’s base. Coiling the clay rope, create the base of your pot. Note that the taller your pot is going to be, the larger the base needs to be to support it.
Step 4. Once you have your base constructed, begin coiling the clay rope on top of your base. Each new circle of the rope makes the pot taller. Continue with the coiling until your pot is the desired height.
Step 5. If you do not want a coiled pot and would rather have a smooth sides pot, begin smoothing the sides with your fingers. Focus on the outside of the pot because this is what will be visible.
Step 6. Once your pot is smooth and looks the way you want it to look, it’s time to air dry or follow the clay instructions and fire it in your oven.
If you have problems with your clay shrinking or cracking you can add small amounts of sand as a temper material. Start of using none as there is likely to already be some in your collected clay. If experience problems the simply start over again. Just dry, pound and you are back to square one, ready to begin again.
[dropcap type=”e.g. circle or none” color=”#ffffff” background=”#e53b2c”] A [/dropcap]lso when firing your clay you want temperature changes to be slow. Quick changes can cause cracks
Once your pot has dried, you’re ready to go. You can paint it, glaze it or keep it in its raw form. As you begin to experiment with clay and pottery, you can try adding handles to your coils. One way to accomplish this is to create horizontal handles on each side of your pot. It takes a little bit of practice; however, by creating an extra thick coil where you want your handles to go, you can separate the thick coil, almost peel it in half, and create a nice handle.