Jump to content

help with aesthetic for pottery

Recommended Posts

Hi, I'm really enthusiastic about pottery.  Making dishware in particular.  I've been wanting to create a certain aesthetic, but am having trouble achieving it.  I know a lot of it is trial and error, and experience is the key.  But I was hoping someone on here can give me some advice to get me un-stuck.  

So, I uploaded a few photos to show the style I am hoping to achieve., but are just examples of the aesthetic, not the specifics like color, clay, etc.  ...im not really sure how to describe it, earthenware? stoneware?   Its very rustic and handbuilt, and reminds me of natural stone with a matte finish...and the glaze has a bit of texture to it .  most of my trials so far come out very smooth and flat where the glaze is brushed.  And again, I know it's a lot of trial and error.  i dont mind the experimentation process(actually rather enjoy it), I just need a better idea of what the process is when going for this look,  and how to get started

At my local pottery supply store, I have been told that the key is in reduction firing, of course they don't do reduction firing, and no one in town does either(and I don't have the equipment necessary either), which is why I feel a little stuck right now.  The only other thing I can think of  is firing to cone 10.   Right now I work with clay and glaze in the cone 5-6 range.  Unfortunately the studio that I fire my Pottery in doesn't fire at cone 10 either.  So it seems like my options are limited.  

 my question is this: what can I do to start taking my pottery in that direction?  would experimenting with wedging different clays together help?  or making my own glazes ( right now I buy the pre-made glazes)?  is there a technique or part of the process I'm missing aside from the basics (i.e. throwing, bisque firing, glazing, and firing again)?

Sorry for the rambling, I've just been hitting a bunch of dead ends with some of my questions and didn't know where else to turn!  Thanks!!!




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a line of Amaco brush on glazes that are called Shino and are meant to resemble reduction firing even when fired at cone 5. They are matte.

They have maybe 6 colors.  There is a green, a brown, a gray blue, a rose-type color...

You could see if you like them.

I have been more successful using these on the outside of dinnerware than on the inside in the sense of being confident the results are food safe.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi and welcome to the forum!

The thing with ceramics is that there is always more than one soloution to a given problem.  I'm glad you said you like experimentation, because there will be a lot of this in your future!

The look of these pots can indeed be achieved in cone six oxidation, not just cone ten reduction.  The images you've posted here all look like high iron clay bodies with varying degrees of grog,  and have simple white glazes with varying levels of sheen to them. The iron in these clay bodies is bleeding through and affecting the glaze colour, giving it lots of visual interest. The first and last images are likely slump molded items, and the middle picture is wheel thrown work. 

This look is pretty on trend right now, so the good news is that ceramic suppliers all have dark firing  and speckled cone 6 stonewares available. Play around with some and see which one(s) you like. 

The tricky part will be getting the glazing right.  With dish ware, you need to make sure that your glazes fit the clay body you're using and don't craze or crawl. Glazes aren't one size fits all, and what works on one clay may not on another.  They also need to be able to hold up over time, and resist things like cutlery marking (difficult with a matte glaze).  My personal bias is strongly towards mixing your own, but before I write a (bigger) essay, I need to know a bit more about what you have available to you in terms of access to firing, kilns and workspace. Also, are you wanting to go into production, or just make pots for the joy of it?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the Forums, bright...

Considering that I work in ^6 stoneware, if I were going to try to achieve what you are going for, I would find a clay that is heavily grogged and in the dark range of color. Then I would work on the devices and materials that would provide some of the textures displayed here (like screen materials, texture rollers, etc.). Then, as Gabby says, since you are working with commercial glazes, I would look at the variety of Amaco glazes available, especially Potters Choice, which give the reduction look in an oxidation atmosphere. Callie has good input here as well...

Good luck with your journey!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your post caught me eye because it sounded just like me a few months ago.  I too was having trouble getting the right "look" with the pots and glazes I was using.  My taste was not quite as rustic as yours but somewhat similar.  All of my results looked like summer camp projects - shiny and bright, but no character.  I have now found some good answers that I offer for your consideration:

Go to    glazy.org   and look around.  Look at the nuka glazes and ash glazes and stoney glazes  .  Consider making your own glazes.  Its not hard.  You can order what is needed from the pottery supply stores.

I recommend trying ash glazes.  A good ash glaze can be made very simply by mixing equal parts wood ash and red clay slip.

Try oxides as  additives to a base glaze. I highly recommend a matte base glaze called "V C matte base" (see glazy.org)  it has a great texture, stable, and can be mixed with different oxides and mason stains to produce a wide variety of subtle colors.

Dont be afraid to "rough up" your wheel thrown pots.   They can be made to look like handbuilt by warping and altering them after thrown.

Good luck!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks a lot like a clay (cone 6 oxidation) called Oregon Brown I like to use. Ditto on the Potter's Choice glazes. Dark clays with iron will cause the bleeding through rustic effect, and the little white bits will come from white crushed up bits of grog in the clay. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.