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Finger indentations when handbuilding.....oops


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#1 cstovin

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:44 PM

Hi all,

At this point I am still learning to throw pots, so I do mostly hand building. What I find especially on "harder" to form bowls, etc. is that I push too hard and get finger impressions in the clay, then they are basically impossible to remove. I have tried to gently press the clay down, and I "feel" that I am using only the needed pressure to mold the clay down to meet the surface of the bowl, but I still get finger marks. Once they are there, I can't seem to get them out -

How does a person learn to avoid tis (obviously less pressure) but I feel that I am only using enough to adhere to the object....

AND - once there are there, how do you work them out? You can only work the sponge over an area so many times before the area gets thinner than the rest of the area around it -


Suggestions?

Some of these pictures are not that great, and the marks are not as bad as they appear in the pictures, but will give you an idea what I am referring to!

Charlene

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#2 GEP

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:15 PM

I would use a flexible rib for that task instead of a sponge. If you are familiar with Sherrill MudTools ribs, I would recommend a red one.

http://www.mudtools.com/flexRibs.html

Mea
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#3 Nelly

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:48 PM

I would use a flexible rib for that task instead of a sponge. If you are familiar with Sherrill MudTools ribs, I would recommend a red one.

http://www.mudtools.com/flexRibs.html

Mea


I too agree with Mea. The red ribs are incredible. Really soft and they can take a pot and burnish it nicely. On another note, I remember one teacher saying to me when I chastised myself for these marks that it IS a handmade vessel. Thus, finger marks are part of their beauty. Whenever I have something that has an obvious problem in the way I wanted it to look, I try my best to integrate it into the design. In short, I take the little errors that we see as potters and try my best to glaze my work in such a way to disguise or improve it's appearance. I remember being at a demonstration with Tony Clennell. He said "if you are going to make a mark on a pot do it with strength." I try to do this whenever I make little bumps or grooves where there should be a smooth surface. Hope this helps. Just work with it. Try if you can to not see it as taking away from the overall aesthetic of the pot.

Nelly

#4 bciskepottery

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:56 PM

Sometimes the little imperfections give the vessel its character. It's called liking mistakes (intentional or not).

I've found that if I obsess with cleaning up the blemishes, I only make them worse. The Sherrill red ribs are wonderful . . . get a small, medium and large; you'll use them all the time. Get rid of the cellulose sponges and use a natural elephant ear sponge . . . they are less damaging to the surface.

#5 Lucille Oka

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:42 PM

For years I have been correcting little slubs, bumps, fingernail gouges, hits, pits and 'pot zits'. I sometimes nick or knock a pot after it is freshly made; it doesn’t happen often but there are times when no matter how careful I am there will be an "oops!" Then out comes the sponges and the ribs; wood, rubber and metal trying to ‘fix it’ and it does get ‘fixed’ and I feel better about the vessel. But for me this tenacity for achieving ‘perfection’ can just get out of hand. I will fix a mishap and in so doing I may lose that perfect roundness so I put the vessel back on the wheel. I get the roundness back, then on the way to the shelf for drying I bump into it, ‘aaahhhh!!!!’

Older, historical, and noted works are my gauges for ‘beautiful perfection’. I discovered, to my relief, they aren’t ‘perfect’ after all. They may have all sorts of ‘slubs’, warping, pinholes, crazing, structural cracks, smudged colors, fingerprints and pattern mishaps. If you take a look at early Meissen there are mishaps galore, the same with Sevres and ancient Asian porcelains. Italian and Middle Eastern makers often times misjudge the size of their quadrants and squeeze the design to make it fit.

But these wares are revered for their innovation, for their style, their usefulness, for their colors and motifs, and how suitable they will be in the rooms in which they will be placed, but not for their ‘perfection’.

To have ‘hand marks’ is a wonderful thing; it is proof of the maker. Proof that the ware was made with the passion and vision of a real live artist and that makes the ware very special and more expensive.


John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

#6 Nelly

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:25 PM

For years I have been correcting little slubs, bumps, fingernail gouges, hits, pits and 'pot zits'. I sometimes nick or knock a pot after it is freshly made; it doesn’t happen often but there are times when no matter how careful I am there will be an "oops!" Then out comes the sponges and the ribs; wood, rubber and metal trying to ‘fix it’ and it does get ‘fixed’ and I feel better about the vessel. But for me this tenacity for achieving ‘perfection’ can just get out of hand. I will fix a mishap and in so doing I may lose that perfect roundness so I put the vessel back on the wheel. I get the roundness back, then on the way to the shelf for drying I bump into it, ‘aaahhhh!!!!’

Older, historical, and noted works are my gauges for ‘beautiful perfection’. I discovered, to my relief, they aren’t ‘perfect’ after all. They may have all sorts of ‘slubs’, warping, pinholes, crazing, structural cracks, smudged colors, fingerprints and pattern mishaps. If you take a look at early Meissen there are mishaps galore, the same with Sevres and ancient Asian porcelains. Italian and Middle Eastern makers often times misjudge the size of their quadrants and squeeze the design to make it fit.

But these wares are revered for their innovation, for their style, their usefulness, for their colors and motifs, and how suitable they will be in the rooms in which they will be placed, but not for their ‘perfection’.

To have ‘hand marks’ is a wonderful thing; it is proof of the maker. Proof that the ware was made with the passion and vision of a real live artist and that makes the ware very special and more expensive.



I agree with Lucille. I recall another quote I heard from a well known potter from Colorado. When I received a small espresso cup from him I asked "but where is the signature or chop" and he said "look closely, my signature (i.e., his hands) are all over the cup." While I am not sure the antique's road show would agree with this in terms of proof of authenticity, he did make a really good point that I won't forget.

Nelly

#7 Matt Oz

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 03:00 PM

Try using a smooth round sponge instead of your fingers to press into the mold, the small yellow synthetic sponges work pretty well because they have some stiffness to them, but not too much. Also, with a damp sponge you can smooth and press into the mold at the same time, then finish it up with a rib or natural sponge.

As far as imperfections, I find it takes a while to learn which ones don't matter, and the ones that will bother a customer, seems to be an art in itself.

#8 Diane Puckett

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 04:33 PM

I also love the Sherril ribs, especially the red and yellow ones. Try using wooden tools rather than your fingers. I have a collection than run from narrow dowels to fat wooden spoons. When I need to smooth rough spots without taking off clay, I use a wet chamois.

Some of my favorite mugs have finger marks where the potter held the mug to dip it in glaze.
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#9 jlawson

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:40 PM

Try using a smooth round sponge instead of your fingers to press into the mold, the small yellow synthetic sponges work pretty well because they have some stiffness to them, but not too much. Also, with a damp sponge you can smooth and press into the mold at the same time, then finish it up with a rib or natural sponge.

As far as imperfections, I find it takes a while to learn which ones don't matter, and the ones that will bother a customer, seems to be an art in itself.


I use a clean smooth round DRY sponge insted of my fingers when pressing slabs onto or into forms. Some folks use bean bags, sand bags and the like. Matt, Very good comments. Posted Image
Jim

#10 Matt Oz

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:59 PM


Try using a smooth round sponge instead of your fingers to press into the mold, the small yellow synthetic sponges work pretty well because they have some stiffness to them, but not too much. Also, with a damp sponge you can smooth and press into the mold at the same time, then finish it up with a rib or natural sponge.

As far as imperfections, I find it takes a while to learn which ones don't matter, and the ones that will bother a customer, seems to be an art in itself.


I use a clean smooth round DRY sponge insted of my fingers when pressing slabs onto or into forms. Some folks use bean bags, sand bags and the like. Matt, Very good comments. Posted Image
Jim


Thanks for the reinforcement and the additional info.

#11 SmartsyArtsy

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:49 PM

I love that clay is a medium that easily captures a hint of the process. Even glazing does that. I am always excited when a customer appreciates and selects a piece with an obvious sowing of the process.

#12 cstovin

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 01:11 AM

Thanks everyone for the input; I was laid off about three months ago, and now am going to give my "art" the best chance I can. I am still looking for a job, but am paying more attention now to trying to learn the best I can. I appreciate that there are so many people out there that are not "perfectionist" and do not criticize for the "finger impressions". That being said, I can smooth them out a little, and I need to learn that a few mild ones are ok;

Thank you for the good comments, and suggestions - a trip to the supply store is in order for a "red rib"!

#13 SShirley

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:30 AM

I think the mild ones are the ones to worry about, if any. The more significant ones look like they were meant to be part of the design. The mild ones can sometimes just look messy.
So, if you do make a booboo, make it with gusto!

#14 cstovin

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:52 PM

I love it.... I guess it goes without saying, if you are going to do it - do it right!




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