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Markp1964

Secret to Coils

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What's the best method to make smooth, even usable coils for hand building?  Mine seem to start with varied thicknesses, and by the time I get them evened out, the clay  is dry and not flexible enough to bend cleanly.

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watching youtube and workshop presentations, i notice that people roll out all the coils right at the beginning and keep them wrapped in sheets of plastic until needed.  is that how you are working?

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I find that the longer your coils get, you need to spread your fingers out more, so that you are touching more of the coil at a single time. This will help with getting consistent coils. Also, use a consistent pressure, moving your hands in a constant motion. If the coil becomes oval/square, stop and tap the high points back to more round. Coils dont need to be a absolute perfect round shape, as you will be manipulating them further in your construction, although the more consistent your coils, the easier it all will be.

If this is part of a project, and you need to learn how to make coils, the ignore the following, if you are working on your own, using coils, you could also extrude them.

As everyone else said, a mist bottle, spraying the canvas work table down so that it is damp, but not wet, will help to keep coils from drying out

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Bill Van Gilder has used what is in the pics as a coil maker. By adjusting the carriage bolt you can infinitely vary the thickness of the coil. Also, I have read, if the coil gets out of round, twist the coil then finish rolling out the coil, it will even out.

coiler_bottom.JPG

coiler_top.JPG

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mark, if you would like to see a very good method of making very delicate coil pots, watch the Youtube videos made by Joyce Michaud.   she teaches at Hood college in maryland and has used coils to make lovely things.  in 12.21 minutes, you will learn a lot.   it is an excerpt from a  video here on ceramic arts network.  i cannot find it using search but maybe you can.  i watched the excerpt last night and found it excellent.

her technique is completely different from the usual "roll out a coil and stick it to another one".

Edited by oldlady
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