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ceramics 1
 

BASICS

Clay is an earthy material of fine grained minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter.

Pottery can be created without the use of a potter's wheel. The potter's wheel did not appear in history until only 4 000 years ago. The main construction methods were pinch and coil methods.

Clay has been used for many things throughout human history: a writing surface, building material, money, storage containers, cooking vessels and serving plates, electronic device parts, ceramic shields or tiles are used on space ships. Ceramics is a major tool for dating cultures in archeology studies.

the three hand-building techniques

pinch

Pinch pots are created by using your hands to shape the clay. Pinch pots are some of the oldest archaeological artifacts found on the planet.

  • Begin by forming a smooth ball that fits in your palm (fist size).
  • Press the thumb into the center half-way to the bottom.
  • Revolve the ball while pressing the walls out evenly with the other hand.

coil

Coil pots are created by pressing coils of clay together.

  • Keeping the fingers flat, form clay into sausage shapes.
  • Roll them into ropes (coils)
    1/4" to 1/2" thick
  • Coils are pressed together creating a design. Gaps are filled in with small balls of clay.
  • Inside of the wall can be smoothed.
  • Join the walls & the bottom.

slab

The slab building technique involves rolling out clay to an even thickness - usually 1 cm - then cutting shapes, folding, bending, manipulating and joining together to form a finished object.

  • Roll slabs of clay
  • Cut out the sides
  • Join the sides (score and slip!!)
  • Attach the bottom
  • Cut out the excess clay from the bottom slab.

Other techniques include:

wheel throwing, relief (high, low, sunken), mold making & slip casting, carving, sculpting, etc.

before you start

(remove air bubbles)

throw

wedge

beat to form a ball

drying stages of clay

slip

(liquid form of clay)
casting and cementing pieces

plastic

wedging, manipulating, sculpting,
throwing on the wheel...

leather hard

most decorating is done, carving, stamping, building, etc..

bone dry

the driest stage of clay, 0% moisture, ready for bisque firing

firing stages

greenware

unfired pottery that is bone dry (most fragile state)

bisqueware (bisque)

unglazed pottery that has been
fired once

glazeware

ware that has glaze applied and is waiting to be glaze fired

joining pieces

1. score

Roughen both surfaces that you are joining. Use a cross-hatching pattern. Use a needle tool, wedge tool with "teeth", etc.

2. slip

Apply enough slip to both surfaces. Slip will "cement" the pieces together as a glue.

3. rock & press

Rock back and forth while applying some pressure on the piece. This will ensure that the slip will fill in all gaps and removes air pockets.

tools

wire

cut-off wire

knife and needle tool

needle tool and fettling knife

modeling tools

modeling tools

rolling pin and guides

rolling pin and guides

drying

Clay project should dry for at least 7 days before bisque firing to ensure it does not blow up in the kiln.

Moisture (sudden change of water into steam) and air bubbles (trapped air expands) can cause the explosion.

firing

firing chart

bisque firing

we use low-fire clay
Cone 04
Temperature 1940 F

glaze firing

we use mostly low-fire glazes
Cone 05-06
Temperature 1830-1914 F

glazing

  • apply at least 3 coats
  • apply coats evenly, wait for a coat to dry before applying the next one
  • do not apply glaze on a bottom surface - the one that will be in contact with the kiln's shelf.
    wipe it clean with a wet sponge before turning in for glaze firing
  • if your finished piece will be in contact with food - look for food safe marking on a glaze jar.
    All glazes that are safe for food contact are labeled with one of the following signs:

 


assignments

Hand-building techniques

stamps

stamps

pinch pot

pinch pot 1

pinch pot

pinch pot 2

coil pot

basic coil pot

coil pot

coil pot

slab box

slab house

house

slab dish or plate

slab platter

sculpting & decorating

animal grotesque sculpture

grotesque

candle holder

candle holder

tile sgraffito

sgraffito tile

underglaze painting on plate

under-glazes

 

due dates:

assignment due
BASICS  
   
   
   

syllabus

ART203 – Ceramics I
(Beginning Ceramics)

.5 Credit

Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Art 1
Course available to: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors

This is a beginning ceramics-pottery class for individual students who are interested in acquiring knowledge and skills in clay.  Students will be introduced to all basic aspects of sculptural and functional pottery.

Course outcomes:
Students will understand the procedures of working with clay
Students will understand the process of pinch pot method
Students will understand the process of coil pot method
Students will understand the process of slab method
Students will understand how to use ceramic tools properly.
Students will understand what glazing is and how to use glazes appropriately
Students will understand the process kiln firing
Students will understand the basic elements and principles of design in creating a 3-D object (texture, shape/form/, contrast, variety, texture, etc.)
Students will be able to produce decorative and functional ceramic pieces utilizing the understanding of the Art Theory.
Students will understand and use art vocabulary pertaining to ceramics media.

classroom rules

(in addition to school guidelines and policies):

No cell phones during class! If I see it (or hear it) – I am going to take it away. Phones should be turned off unless you are using it is a part of the assignment. NO TEXTING, NO TALKING!
You DO NOT have my permission to take pictures or videotape in my class.
Food, drinks, candy, gum are not allowed in the Art rooms. A bottle of WATER is permitted in room 206 (only).
Be in the room before the bell rings. Dropping your stuff and leaving would not qualify you as being on time.
Sit at your assigned seat unless I give you the “OK” to move.
Talk quietly with students at your table.
Draw, paint, etc. on your artwork only!
Use materials from your tote-tray only… don’t go into other people’s trays.
Bring your work home anytime you want. You are responsible for having it back next class.
If you must swear, or use crude/vulgar language, please do it elsewhere.  Thanks…
Encourage your fellow classmates in a positive way… Treat them fairly and nicely.
You are responsible for cleaning your work area and tools that you used. I am not going to do it for you.

You will receive a zero for the day if:

You are unprepared for class (no pencil, no artwork)
Not working throughout the entire class
Not clean up or clean up early

You may make-up a zero after school.

final exam

Study-guide:

  • What is clay?
  • History of ceramics and invention of potter's wheel.
  • Uses of ceramics
  • Three basic hand-building techniques
  • Preparing clay for work
  • Steps for pinch pot technique
  • Specifics for coil technique and coils
  • Specifics for slab building techniques
  • Joining clay pieces
  • Drying time before firing
  • Other clay building techniques
  • Two types of firing that we used in this class
  • Definitions: greenware, bisqueware, glazeware
  • Clay drying stages
  • Glazes. Safety information
  • Firing, kiln, temperatures
  • Tools
  • Storing "in-progress" projects
  • Clay: safety information
  • Best practices for working with clay