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In the Studio Project Image tutorials

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Oldlady, suggested and Project image tutorial for the QotW. I convinced her that sort of thing really belonged in the "Studio Operations and Making Work" section. She agreed. I am setting this up for anyone that would like to show others a brief tutorial of how to do some technique or project. If you have already done this here, repost it in this area, couldn't hurt. I believe everyone may be looking for something to occupy their time, and this may help.




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Simple hand building project if anyone is looking for something different to try for a change of pace. My soft slab (olive) boat, it's an easy project, would be good for kids to make too. Turn it into a viking ship or ? I don't have any glazed right now but a couple bisqued ones in the last image.

Supplies needed:

Soft clay

Rolling pin 

1 1/4 - 2 1/2” diameter dowel wrapped in newspaper (or long thin rolling pin, diameter isn’t critical)

Pony roller or piece of plastic

Cornstarch (optional)

Supports if you use soft clay

1 - Template is 19” overall length, 4 1/4” wide. Each side measures 15 1/2”. Soft slab, cut out the pattern. Don’t worry about getting the ends exactly as I have them, you can just use one gentle curve from the point to the opposite side. If you want texture on the outside of the boat do it now.

2 - On the long edges use a pony roller and soften the edge. If you don’t have a pony roller just use a piece of thin plastic, hold it taunt and run your finger along the edge. (2a)

2a- Flip the piece over, if you want texture on the inside do it now. Soften the long edges on this side too.

3 - Cover up the ends and lightly dust the clay with cornstarch. Since my clay is very wet I don’t like to use a pounce, I just load a brush with cornstarch and tap the brush over, but not touching, the clay.

4 - Lift the slab and lay it cornstarch side down over the dowel wrapped in newsprint. 

5 - Press the clay around the dowel then flatten the bottom with a small rolling pin or pony roller. The dowel I use is a bit narrow so I lift one end up while doing this so I don’t crush the long edges of the slab.

6 - Moisten the ends with just a few drops of water if you are using soft clay. If you use firmer clay then use a tiny bit of slip. Bring the long edges together at the ends of the slab and pinch the lower edges together. I keep a slight overlap so I can fold the overlap over and work it in with a rib so the boat doesn’t leak. 

7 - Roll the top pointed ends into spirals, covering the join.  One ends rolls to the left, the other to the right. Transfer the boat to a drying board.

8 - Straighten out the rim, flute the edges if you like. I use bendable hair rollers to support the sides while drying. Clay coils would work too. I’ve found with my clay I need to dry these slowly or they lift up in the centre. You could also put a small weight in the centre to help prevent it lifting. 

Would love to see some other projects here!

(Sorry but I can't get the numbers to show up on the images, read left to right 1-8)

1 & 22a & 34 & 56 & 7



Edited by Min
added an image
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Looks like a canoe (bottom image)

One could make a full scale one from WSO clay and float the Lewis and Clark river trip. Build a fiber kiln around it to fire it next to river bank(it will be heavy and stink like a stone)

of course the clay will weep  a bit so a bailer would be needed-if the thing flips its going down fast-maybe best for you midwesterners centrally loceted to river-also a good time for trip as social distancing in river will also be helpful .If you complete the journey you can youtube the adventure and be the first to do this in a clay canoe so Guinness has a spot for you in next issue as well.

It will be great thing or the stupidest-risk reward-perfect thing for invenciable youth to try

Headline -

They followed Lewis and Clark track and are the first on the planet to make the trip in a clay canoe

Heros in home town with keys to the city and unlimited high speed Internet for life 


Two youths got the Darwin award for trying to float a long haul river trip in a clay canoe-it hit a snag and  broke in 1/2 and sunk like a stone and they fanished in the brown spring runoff waters never to be seen again.


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  • 1 month later...

One of the QotW topics brought up by Hulk included throwing thick or thin. I mentioned at the time that I am throwing floor vases, and throwing thicker to make certain the weight is enough to limit them being tipped over easily. I usually throw with a narrow bottom, and could have gone to a different form, but my wife likes the ones I am doing. Here is one going through the process of a textured thrown vase.

Throwing a floor vase.JPG



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I have been making chalices of late, and thought maybe folks would like to see the process. I start by throwing the bowls, as they are easier to keep damp while I throw the stems. The series above shows throwing the bowls off the hump with the standard centering.  Remember when throwing off the hump you don't have to completely center the entire piece of clay, only the top completely.

Opening up is a little different for me, as I open out into a pancake with thicker edges.   Using the fingers of both hands I then turn that pancake into a form by bringing it up to the shape in the third image. This process allows the clay particles to align in the bottom and come up around the form still aligned. . . muc different than making a floor and then rising the walls with a pull.

The fourth image shows texturing the image. This particular one was done using a fondant texturing sheet from a clearance sale. I try not to distort the pot too much, but don't really worry about it. The last image shows the form bulged out using a long necked throwing rib often attributed to Asian cultures. I have not shown the finishing of the form, but it is pretty standard to pull up the neck and add a slight curve to the form at the lip. A word about chalices for Communion: often chalices are thought of as being drinking devices, but often with Communion they are more about dipping the bread into the wine and serving the celebrant. So many of my chalices have a wider cup form. If the chalice is to be used more as ceremony for the minister's personal use, a narrower cup is appropriate.ChaliceStem.JPGe Here are the stems being thrown, off the hump again. I don't do the pancake opening here, as these always get trimmed and have a hole in the bottom so that there is not any trapped air in the stem after being joined to the bowl. Standard centering of the hump, donut shaped opening up. Pull a narrow cylinder, necking in on each pull.I use a series of curved wooden ribs for final shaping and finish the rim slightly rounded.

I trim the stems using a chuck I have made for the job using standard plumbing parts and a Griffin Grip.  You can see that I use a hack saw blade to even up the base, whether it has a base or not. The other trimming tool is one of my favorites for its great number of curves and flats in a single trim tool. Last image shows the set up for joining the stem and bowl together. The bowl has a trimmed area to allow the stem to fit into the bowl area. I use  magic water and scoring to join the two sections  while the wheel is turning.  This assures that the two pieces are aligned . level and centered.

I hope this helps some of you maybe thinking of trying a chalice or if you already have maybe some room for thought.




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  • 3 months later...

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