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knowledge and
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Clay Workshop Handbook

Knowledge and Techniques for the Studio
Welcome to your workshop! Whether you enjoy throwing, handbuilding, glaze testing or all of the above, weve pulled
together several things for you to try out once you get back to your studio.
If youre familiar with Pottery Making Illustrated and Ceramics Monthly, then you already know theyre packed full of practical information, projects, and techniques you can use. The articles in this 2015 Clay Workshop Handbook provide a sampling of
some of the great content youll discover in each issue.
In addition to our magazines, youll also find a wealth of information on our website Check
out hundreds of free posts filled with tips and techniques and scores of videos providing demos from truly talented potters, as well as our magazine, book, and DVD selections.
Enjoy your workshop!

Scaling It Down

Liz Zlot Summerfield

The size of a pot can be determined by things beyond its intended use, including ones body size and the things
you surround yourself with. Take a closer look and make a connection.

Trimming with a Chuck

Mike Jabbur

Tall, narrow chucks can make trimming easier because they actually fit inside the pot, saving rims from globs of
smashed clay.

Inspired by Cloth and Clay

Adero Willard

Use a variety of techniques and tools on the same piece to add contrast and complexitysimilar to sewing a
patchwork quilt.

The Oribe-Inspired Decorated Jar

Ben Krupka

Reinvent a historical style to create surfaces that inspire you and creatively engage your forms.

The Print Duality

Martina Lantin

Using monoprinting and toner-resist transfer to create layers of surface decoration.

Cone 610 Glazes

Kimberlee Joy Roth

Roth shares the glazes she uses on her functional wall sculptures.

Workshop Glazes
Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts, Peters Valley School of Art, Odyssey Center for the Ceramic
Arts, Ox-Bow School of Art, Northern Clay Center share some of their tried and true shop glazes.

Rhubarb Crisp Baker

Sumi von Dassow

Learn to make both your own baking dish and a great rhubarb crisp. | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook

Scaling it down
by Liz Zlot Summerfield

How do you journey from a drawing in your sketch book to a paper

pattern? Start with a clay sketch that
will become the rough draft of your
pattern. Make a cylinder (either by
pinching, coiling or from a slab) and
attach a bottom. The cylinder should
be similar in scale to the intended final
piece. Draw lines on the surface of the
cylinder anywhere you intend to create a seam. Cut along the lines and lay
the sections out flat, creating a twodimensional shape (1). Trace the flat
clay sketch onto a malleable material,
such as construction paper. Cut out the
paper pattern. You now have a rough
draft of your pattern. To ensure proper
measurements, fold the paper pattern,
as you would in making a paper snowflake, and cut off any uneven edges.
To test your pattern, roll out a slab
and trace the pattern. Fold the slab to
create the basic form, then take note
where the pattern needs adjusting. Alter
Lidded pitcher on brick, handbuilt earthenware, slip-trailed patterns, terra
the pattern and continue the back and
sigillata, underglaze, glaze, 2014.
forth between clay and paper until you
are satisfied with your pattern. Trace
the pattern onto a more durable material to create a master ways work on the left-hand side of the piece. In order to accompattern. Paper patterns can easily be rescaled on a photocopi- plish this, you need to turn your board to orient the piece as
you cut all of the bevels. One common problem with beveling
er to create larger or smaller sizes of your original design.
is being too tentative. The knife should cut through the clay at
an angle with the tip running along the surface of the board.
The following beveling instructions set the pot up in a geoRoll out a -inch-thick slab large enough to fit your pattern.
Run a rubber rib along the surface of both sides of the slab metric fashion; creating four equal sides. To begin, start from
to compress the clay particles and remove any canvas texture. the top of the piece and run your knife along the edge at a
Place the pattern on the slab, and first trace it with a needle 45 angle until you finish cutting one side. Repeat this step
tool before cutting it out with a knifethe needle tool line on all four sides, remembering to turn the board after each
creates a valley for the knife to follow. Hold the knife perpen- cut. Once you bevel the first half of all joins, flip the slab over
and bevel the side of the seam adjacent to the first bevel. Note
dicular to the slab and cut in one even motion (2).
(with the arrows in the image) that you are always beveling on
the opposite side of the slab (3) to create each join.
The slab is ready to bevel and fold once it has lost its stickiTo prepare for folding up the sides, brush the beveled edges
ness but it is still very soft to touch. To create a greater surface with slip (there is no need to score due to the wetness of the
area for the slabs to connect, you will need to bevel the edges. slab). Lift two adjoining sides and begin to overlap the bevBefore you begin, here are a few simple hints to beveling.
eled edges starting from the bottom of the pot (4). Gently join
Hold the knife as you would a pencil and remind yourself the slabs together, working your way around all four sides of
that your wrist should not be contorted or uncomfortable dur- the pot. Once the pot is standing on its own, take a rubber
ing the beveling process. If you are right handed, you will al- brayer and roll the edges together to create a firm connection.

Rolling and Tracing

Beveling, Folding, and Shaping | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook

1 Handbuild a cylinder to make a pattern. Cut it apart to give a visual from the 3-D form to the 2-D paper pattern. 2 Trace the pattern and cut along the valley created by the needle tool with an X-Acto knife. 3 Bevel the
edges to create more area for the join. Flip the slab over and do the same bevels on the sides adjacent to the
first bevels on the back side of the slab. 4 Gently tack the slabs together from bottom to top all around the pot.
Use a rubber brayer or rib to secure the slabs. 5 Tap all four edges between the side and bottom of the pot to
create both feet and a concave bottom.

The brayer connects the seams, leaving a visible line, whereas

a rib will smooth them together, eliminating the seam line.
Make these decisions based on your own personal aesthetic.
There is no need to add coils to the inside seams due to the
wetness of the clay. You have now created your cylinder. Allow the pot to firm up to soft leather hard in order to address
the bottom and add volume.

Adding Volume

Set the pot on a banding wheel, wet your fingers, and gently
push out the inside walls. This stretches the slab and adds
a curved, volumetric surface. Work around the pot until all
four sides are addressed.
To form the feet, the pot must still be at the soft leatherhard stage and hold its shape. If the clay is too wet when
forming the feet, the bottom will sag, and if it is too dry it will
crack along the bottom. Using the fatty part of your thumb,
gently tap between the seams on all four undersides of the pot
(5). This forces the bottom to become concave and simultaneously creates four feet for the piece to sit on. Once the feet are
formed, place the pot on a level surface and bend the feet to
eliminate any wobbling.
If you choose to stamp into the clay surface, now is the
appropriate time while the clay is a soft leather hard and can
accept the texture (6).

Constructing the Lid, Flange, and Spout

Once the pot is a stiff leather hard, you are ready to create
the lid. Prepare the pot by leveling the rim. This is easily

done with a Surform. Roll a small -inch slab about the

size of the opening of the pot. Place the pot upside down on
the slab and trace around the opening. Remove the pot and
cut along the traced line, then soften the cut edges, taking
care not to stretch or deform the traced slab. Hold the slab
in the palm of your hand and rub it with your thumb or a
rib to create volume. Score and slip the pot and adhere the
volumetric slab to the pot with the rubber brayer. The pot
is now an enclosed, hollow form. Create a line where you
intend to cut the lid away from the pot. Insert your knife
perpendicular to the pot and cut an even line (do not saw
back and forth) (7). Slowly spin the banding wheel while
you cut the lid away from the pot. Rest a finger or part of
your hand against the banding wheel as you work to stabilize your hand and encourage an even cut.
It is appropriate to adhere the flange to the inside of the pot
when the lid and pot are no longer in danger of being distorted
from movement. Roll a thin slab (about 18 inch thick and 38
inch in height) from soft clay. Score and slip the top inside rim
of the pot. Finger tack the flange to the inside of the pot leaving just a small overhang which will eventually catch the lid
from sliding (8). Clean up the seam between the pot and flange
with a rubber-tipped tool and avoid using any water on the
flange. Adjust the flange slightly inward with wet fingertips, so
that the lid easily slips back into place on the pot. The lid will
need to dry and fire on the pot to ensure a proper fit.
To create the spout pattern, start from a rounded triangle
or ice-cream cone shape. Alter the shape of the spout by
elongating or rounding the edges. Once the shape is cut from | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook



6 Push a carved bisque stamp into the outside surface of the pot, while holding one hand on the inside of the
pot. 7 At the leather-hard stage, cut the lid away from the pot holding your X-Acto knife horizontal to the pot.
This should be done in one motion. 8 Finger tack a thin slab around the inside rim of the pot. The flange only
needs to be slightly higher than the top of the pot to hold the lid in place. 9 Cut away clay from the pot just inside the traced line of the spout, so that there is enough surface area to attach the spout. 10 Use slip made from
your clay body to decorate the exterior of the pot. The consistency of the slip along with the pressure used will
determine the quality of line you create. 11 Underglaze is one solution to add color to the pot whether it is
used for large blocks of color or small impact areas.

the pattern, gently squeeze the slab in half to create a trough

where the liquid will flow. Add a decorative cap by attaching a small slab of clay onto the top of the spout. Mock the
spout up on the pot and make sure it is centered. Once it is
placed, trace the spout and cut just inside the trace line leaving enough clay for the spout to attach to the pot. Score and
slip the pot and attach the spout to the pot (9). Clean up the
connections with a rubber-tipped tool. If you applied a decorative cap, once the piece is leather hard drill a hole through
the front of the spout to allow liquid to flow.

Building Up the Surface

At leather hard, the pot is at the appropriate stage to slip

trail and add any additional decorative clay components. Slip
trailing with your clay body creates a subtle, raised surface
without a change in color. To prepare the slip, slake down
your clay body to a yogurt-like consistency and run the prepared slip through a sieve to eliminate any large particles.
Practice dispensing the slip through a slip trailer on paper
to make sure the line quality is what you desire. The size of
the metal tip and the consistency of the slip will determine
the quality of line (10). After the slips sheen has disappeared,
loosely cover the pot under plastic until it becomes completely bone dry.
At the bone-dry stage, brush three coats of terra sigillata
onto the slip-trailed portions of the pot. The terra sigillata will
thin out over the raised areas and pool in recessed areas. It is
the perfect solution for textured surfaces located on the out-

side of the pot. It is used primarily on outside surfaces as it is

not a glaze surface that seals the clay and may soak up moisture. Burnish the terra sigillata until you see a waxy sheen.
In addition to terra sigillata, I apply AMACO Velvet underglaze to any portion of the pot that requires color (11).
The Velvet line of underglazes are versatile because they offer
you the choice to leave the surface unglazed (raw and dry) or
glazed (shiny and slick). Although underglazes may be applied
at the leather-hard, bone-dry, or bisque stage, I prefer to apply
them at bone dry, which leaves me the option to carve back
through to reveal the clay body.
After the bisque firing, clean the pot inside and out with a
lightly damp sponge. Wax the lid flange (for easier clean up)
and pour or brush a liner glaze inside the pot. Wait until the
surfaces are completely dry before applying any additional
glazes to the outside of the pot. To create stripes on the lid,
draw pencil lines as a guide. Apply glaze (I prefer commercial
glazes due to their brushability) with a small brush, and clean
up any runs with an X-Acto knife before glaze firing.
the author Liz Zlot Summerfield is a studio artist and ceramics instructor living in Bakersville, North Carolina. She exhibits her work and
teaches nationwide. To learn more visit

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue

of Ceramics Monthly. Visit to
subscribe. | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook

Trimming with a Chuck

by Mike Jabbur

I started trimming pots on a chuck back in graduate school.

A fellow graduate student, Joe Davis, introduced me to the
technique. Honestly, I hated the process at first. The pot being trimmed needs to be not only centered, but also leveled.
The clay has to be the perfect stage of leather hard. If it is too
wet, it sticks. And if it is too dry, it pops loose. Also, the pot
you are trimming is elevated off the wheel head higher than
usual, so there is a different feel to it. The chuck can also
leave a scar on the inside of the pot, although a little clean up
with a sponge or rib after trimming easily takes care of that
problem. The big catch is that the chuck must fit completely
inside your pot. For some potters, making a variety of chucks
may be necessary. But once you get used to the process, you
wont want to turn back.
The advantages are many. You can trim pots that are not
level, whether wavy-rimmed or leaning to the side. The chuck
connects to the inside of the pot, which is almost always centered. You are also taking the pressure off the rim of the pot
when you trim, which helps prevent cracking and damage to
the edge. It is great for trimming lidded pots, because you do
not have to disrupt the flange. And it makes trimming tall,
narrow forms much easier. Finally, it puts an end to mashing
coils of wet clay up against the rim of your pots, which often
distorts the form and destroys the surface.

Making the Chuck

I recommend throwing your chuck as a simple form, similar

to a spout. It should have a wide, low base for stability, and
a narrow neck that is flared at the rim to make attaching wet
clay easier (see figure 1). If necessary, trim the chuck when it
is leather hard to make the base of the cylinder as narrow as
possible (providing more versatility for tall, narrow forms),
and trim the edge of the base to make sure that there are no
burrs or brittle edges. Dry the chuck slowly, as these forms
tend to lean to the side as they dry. After bisque-firing the
chuck, store it in a bucket of water, because it has to be completely saturated when you use it.

Using the Chuck

Stick the chuck down to a bat as you would any other pot
and then add a generous coil of clay to the rim (1). You can
center this coil with water or let it stiffen to leather-hard and
trim it (2). I do a bit of both. Then air dry or blowtorch the
coil until it is leather hard. It is helpful to match the shape of
the coil to the inside shape of the pot you are trimming and
make sure that the widest part of the coil is also the highest.
If the inside edge of the coil is the highest point, your pot will

Tumbler, 4 in. (11 cm), wheel-thrown porcelain, glaze, fired

to cone 9 in oxidation, 2014.

not sit correctly on the chuck. The shape of the coil I add varies from one pottery form to another, and sometimes I trim
the coil a little between pots to improve the fit for a given
piece. Because of this, I always trim pots with the narrowest
opening last. You may need to add a fresh coil or re-soak the
chuck if you are trimming for several hours or working in a
drafty studio.
Center your pot on the chuckmaking sure it is both centered and level might take some practiceand give it a little
downward pressure with a subtle twisting motion. Applying
pressure will help your pot adhere to the chuck. Then trim
your pot as you normally would. Although the pot is stuck
to the chuck, it is still important to apply downward pressure
as you trim.
I always begin by defining the outside diameter of the foot
ring (3). I do not trim inside the foot ring until later, which
allows me to push down on the bottom of the pot while I trim
and it helps to keep the pot stuck to the chuck. I trim away
all of the excess clay between the foot ring and the waist or | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook

1 Center and stick the saturated, bisque-fired chuck to the wheel head with clay, then and add another coil of
clay at the top. 2 Center the coil with water or let it stiffen to leather hard and trim it. 3 Place the cup onto the
chuck and begin trimming by defining the outside diameter of the foot ring. 4 Trim away about 90% of the excess
clay between the foot ring and the waist or belly of the pot before trimming the inside of the foot ring. 5 After
trimming the inside of the foot ring, finish trimming the outside area until the rhythm and gesture compliments
the throwing. 6 Use a smaller trimming tool to clear away any trimming scraps and then use a cosmetic sponge
to smooth the foot. 7 Use a sponge on a stick to clean up any scars left from the chuck. 8 The finished cup after
trimming. 18 Photos: Eliot Dudik.

belly of the pot, focusing more on wall thickness than on

the surface of the trimmed area (4). I stop trimming outside
the foot ring when I am about 90% donebefore doing any
detail work. Then I trim inside the foot ring, because these
trimmings can easily damage the detail work outside the foot
as the scraps fall. Once the foot is how I want it, I finish it
by trimming the outside area (5). I like the final trim marks
to have a rhythm and gesture that compliment my throwing.
Finally, I use a smaller trimming tool around the waist of the
pot and the edge of the foot and clear away any trimming
scraps with compressed air. I make a single pass over all the
edges with a cosmetic sponge so that they retain their crispness but are not sharp to the touch (6).

When I am done trimming, a little twist helps the piece pop

loose from the chuck. I use a sponge on a stick to clean up the
scar on the inside of the pot left by the chuck (7). Of course,
chucks are only needed for certain forms. Experiment. Solutions for pottery making are rarely one-size-fits-all.
the author Mike Jabbur is an assistant professor of ceramics at The
College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. To learn more,

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue

of Ceramics Monthly. Visit
to subscribe. | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook

Inspired by Cloth
and Clay
by Adero Willard

A primary creative idea

behind my decoration
techniques is manipulating real or illusory depth
through relationships between different textures, patterns, colors, and proportions.
Using different techniques and
tools on the same piece adds to the
contrast. Quilts are one of the many
inspirations I draw from. Separate patches create repeating patterns that ultimately
become a complete and unified form. Translated to clay and
glazes, the patchwork appearance and depth comes from
layering of underglazes and the revealing of layers through
masking (using wax resist). Using underglazes gives one the
immediacy of working with color in painterly ways.

Platter Planning

A larger form like a platter allows more surface for contrasting decoration to inhabit. I create a double lip, and
then alter the shape of the form by pulling and stretching
the edge to vary the degree to which the two conjoin. Consideration of how these alterations affect the character of
the form helps inspire the mapping out of the decoration:
which areas of decoration will be contained inside the form,
which will extend to some, but not all edges, and so on.
Using an X-Acto blade, I map out areas so contrasting patterns will collide, intersect, and overlap. It may be helpful to
make a separate sketch on paper and keep it nearby in case
you lose track of the order of the layers during the application of underglazes.

Layers and Masking

I apply a layer of black underglaze once the form is leather

hard. I leave the clay body exposed in specific places based

on my decoration map. The

next step is to introduce the
first wax-resist element once
the underglaze is dry to the
touch (figure 1). Here, leaf
shapes are painted onto the surface using wax. If you havent
worked with masking, you may
find it helpful to think of applying
wax as preserving whatever is directly
underneath it, even as more underglaze is applied. The first pattern I create uses relatively large
shapes, which will appear as black-on-clay-body. When the
wax is dry, the entire surface is covered in white underglaze (figure 2). When that layer is dry to the touch, I use a
dry sponge to remove the underglaze that beads up on the
waxed areas in order to prevent glaze defects (repeat this
after every application of underglaze to a waxed area).

Creating Patterns with Sgraffito

At this point I use the X-Acto blade to retrace the lines of

my map, as the underglaze may obscure them. The next decoration I apply using sgraffito. I use the side edge of the tip
of the blade, carving away the upper white layer to reveal
the black layer beneath. In some areas, I create a vine pattern, which sweeps and loops around itself and between the
mapped-out areas, echoing the waved edge of the altered
form (figure 3). I also use sgraffito to begin a pattern of
a contrasting geometric style in adjoining areas (figure 4 ).
Note: Clear away the dust created by the carved underglaze
with a dry brush; dont clear it by blowing it away, as its
harmful to inhale. I like to create contrasting dimension in
a piece by alternating between carving the positive shape of
the vine in some areas, and carving away the negative space
in others (figures 5 and 6 ). | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook

Leaving areas bare, apply black underglaze as background color. Paint shapes with wax resist to create the
first layer of pattern.

Apply white underglaze to the entire surface. Once dry,

retrace your decoration map.

Using the side edge of an X-Acto blade, create sgraffito

decoration. The ivy pattern accentuates the platters irregular edges.

In one area of the ivy pattern, use
cross-hatching to make the ivy pattern dark-on-light (positive space).

In the other areas, cross-hatch around
the ivy pattern to create a light-ondark decoration (negative space).

Variations on Technique

Recall that some areas had no black underneath the white

underglaze: these will show as white-on-clay-body, where
the rest will show as white-over-black. (The thickness of
the white layer determines how dark or light the resulting
combination will be.) In the area with white-on-clay-body,
I use a slip-trailing bottle to create decoration that is suggestive of writing without being overly literal (figure 7 ).
This black design element contrasts with the larger black
leaf shapes created by the initial wax application.

Second Resist Layer

Create a contrasting, geometrical sgraffito pattern in

adjoining areas, per your map. Clear away shavings with
a dry brush.

With the sgraffito and slip-trail decoration complete, I apply the next wax decoration to preserve elements at this

Use a slip-trailing bottle to decorate
the bare area, contrasting delicate
strokes against larger bold elements.

level before applying more colors of underglaze. Between

the large leaf shapes preserved by the first layer of resist, I
add a second vine-like pattern using wax (figure 8 ). Over
the grid, I introduce a corresponding geometric element of
wax circles that accentuates the curvilinear aspects of the
form (figure 9). The wax also serves purely as a mask to
preserve areas where the decoration is complete.

Expanding the Palette

I introduce other colors at this point; areas masked by wax

will not be affected. Note: Using wax as a mask protects
against the brush slipping or drips. As with the very first application, use a dry sponge to remove the underglaze that
beads up on the wax after every step. The geometric area has | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook

Apply a second ivy pattern with wax resist. Although
constrained within the map, this creates the appearance
of endless flow.

The second wax pattern contrasts by its geometric nature, as well as contrasting circles against the sgraffito

Apply yellow underglaze in the gridded areas. Remove
any underglaze that beads up on the waxed areas with a
dry sponge.

A second wax pattern, also geometric but similar in character to the ivy, is applied over the yellow underglaze.

Apply red underglaze to the second ivy area. The wax
decoration will show through. Remove any underglaze
that beads up on the waxed areas with a dry sponge.

two layers of color; the first is yellow-over-white, with the

wax circles showing through the yellow (figure 10). Then, I
apply a third level of resist over parts of the yellow, introducing a spiral that relates geometrically but contrasts in scale
and gesture (figure 11). The organic area will have red-overwhite, with the brush-applied vine showing through the red
(figure 12). Once the wax spirals dry, the white-over-yellow
layer, with the spirals showing through the white, completes
the geometric area (figure 13).

Two Firings

The platter must be bisque fired before glazingI bisque

fire to cone 06. After the initial firing, I use a non-stick-pan

Apply a layer of white underglaze over the yellow.
Masking adjoining decoration with wax helps prevent
errors. Remove any underglaze that beads up on the
waxed areas with a dry sponge.

scrubbing pad to sand off the flaky residue that the wax
leaves behind, then I dunk the entire piece in glaze to seal
the decoration and make the colors more vivid. I glaze fire
to cone 03 in an electric kiln.
Adero Willard lives in western Massachusetts, where she is a studio
potter and instructor of ceramics at Holyoke Community College. She
has shown in a number of galleries and craft shows nationally, including the Society of Arts & Crafts, Craft Boston, and the Smithsonian
Craft Show in Washington, DC.

This article originally appeared in the September/October

2014 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated.
Visit to subscribe. | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook

The Oribe-Inspired
Decorated Jar
by Ben Krupka

Ben Krupka carves through

wax-resist-covered slips to
create a playful Oribe-inspired
surface on his porcelain jar.

As a maker, I remain dedicated to the evolving conversation with material, aesthetic ideals, and function. I work
within the parameters of aesthetic functionalism while
striving to build pots that feel full of volume, look soft
and fresh, and tell a story, while maintaining a historical
reference. The work shown here references the experimental and playful feel of Oribe-style ceramics, but through a
contemporary lens, both in pattern and narrative themes
as well as in form, which is influenced by how I eat and
drink. The work uses abstract cloud forms to reference an
intangible dream state and fuzzy communication that are
depicted in unframed floating spaces. Pattern is used to
define place and divide space.
The majority of my work begins on the wheel. I find
this tool to be the simplest way to connect curves and create not only physical volume, but also a visually suggested
sense of volume.


Start by throwing a straight-walled cylinder with the bottom third resembling a bowl on the interior rather than a
cylinder, which would have evenly thick walls. This will
give the stability necessary to slightly swell out the belly
of the pot in the throwing stage without compromising its
vertical, wet structural strength. It also will come into play
later when trimming.
Leave the top quarter of the pot about twice as thick as
the walls so it maintains its structure as you use downward
pressure to create the lid seating.
After the cylinder is thrown, smoothed, and the lid seating is roughly formed, begin at the top, working downward
to swell out the walls, creating more volume (figure 1). Its
important to begin widening the form from the top as this allows the bottom half of the pot, which is still thick, to maintain structure and keeps the pot from getting too thin early
on, causing it to slump. Once the pot is formed, delicately rib | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook


Swell out the walls from the top
downward. Keep the walls an even

Use the rib to remove all throwing
lines and refine the surface of the pot.

Form the knob prior to opening the
walls of the lid.

Use the rib to push down the walls

creating a flat lid.

Center the pot so it can be used to

hold the lid while trimming.

Trim the bottom of the lid until the

walls are evenly thick throughout.

down the entire pot removing all throwing lines that would
eventually act as a visual distraction to the applied surface
treatment (figure 2). Remove the pot from the wheel and allow it to become leather hard.
Next, center a substantial amount of clay as a hump.
This allows you to throw multiple lids more quickly in the
event that one does not fit. While ignoring the majority of
clay that is already centered, focus on a portion of clay that
comfortably fits in your hand, and center it as though its a
separate entity from the remainder of the clay on the wheel.
Rather than creating a hole, which one would normally do
when opening, form the knob in the center of the ball of
clay (figure 3).
After the knob is formed, throw walls around the knob
and, using a stiff rib, push down and level out the top of
the lid (figure 4 ). Once you are happy with the shape of the
lid, use calipers to measure the exact lid diameter and cut
it to size with a needle tool. Smooth out the cut edge, then
remove the lid and allow it to become leather hard.


Next, re-center the pot (before trimming it) so it can be used

as a chuck, or holder, for trimming the lid (figure 5). Trim the

lid until the walls are an even thickness throughout (figure 6).
Flip the pot over, center it, and begin trimming. This is
where the distinction between physical and visual volume is
created. Because the interior of this vessel is shaped like a
bowl, it affords the flexibility to trim heavily, exposing the
bowl shape within. After the bulk of the trimming is complete, use the metal rib as a trimming tool to remove unwanted trimming lines. Sponge down the surface and use a
soft rib to unify the thrown and trimmed surface (figure 7 ).

Slip Decoration

Its important to have a vision for the finished piece in order grasp the steps and work backward. I find it helpful
to sketch my ideas on paper prior to applying slip to the
surface of the pot. Once the pot is on the dry side of leather
hard, begin to apply colored slips by starting with the darkest color, in this case black. After allowing the black slip to
dry, apply the next color of slipI used AMACO Velvet
Underglaze V-388 Radiant Red.
Once the slips are dry, cover the entire pot with wax resist
and allow it to sit overnight so the wax hardens (figure 8).
The longer you let the wax dry, the easier it will be to draw
clean lines. | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook


Trim excess clay around the base. Use
a soft rib to even out the trimming
surfaces. Allow it to become leather

Apply colored slips. After the slips
are dry, cover the entire pot with
wax resist and allow the wax to

Use a soft brush to remove the dry
burrs of wax and clay that peel up as
you draw.

Incising and Inlaying

Use a pointed tool to draw through
the wax and slip creating sgraffito
lines. Avoid brushing the burrs into
the lines.

After the drawing is complete, use
colored slips to fill the lines.

Use a tool with a point that gives the line quality you desireanything from a ballpoint pen to a needle tool will
work. Another contributing factor to line quality is the
moisture content of the clay. The drier the pot, the sharper
the line (figure 9).
Throughout the drawing process, pause occasionally to
brush off the burrs of wax and clay that peel up as you draw
so they dont accidentally get pushed back into your lines. Be
patient and wait as long as it takes for the burrs to dry. The
drier the burrs are when you brush them away, the cleaner
the line will be (figure 10).
Once the drawing is complete, use colored slips to fill
in the lines (figure 11). After each color is applied, sponge
away what doesnt adhere before applying the next color

Sponge away what doesnt fill the
lines before applying the next color.

(figure 12). The overlying color should wipe away easily due
to the layer of protective wax resist still on the pot.


After bisque firing the pot, use a damp sponge to clean the
surface before applying glaze. This removes any dust that developed from the wax burning off in the kiln and allows for a
consistent and clean coat of glaze. Apply areas of colored glaze,
allow them to dry, then apply a thin layer of clear glaze on top
of the entire pot. Wipe the bottom clean, allow the glaze to dry,
then fire it to temperature.

Ben Krupka is a ceramic artist and educator living and working in Great
Barrington, Massachusetts. He teaches ceramics at Bard College at
Simons Rock. To see more of his work, visit

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2014 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated. Visit to subscribe. | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook


The Print Duality

by Martina Lantin

Martina Lantins cups combine monoprinting, toner-resist transfer, wax-resist glazing, and glaze trailing on thrown and altered
forms. The surfaces have a rich, layered, and weathered appearance that encourages a closer look.

The ceramic surface may be activated by the imposition or

printing of pattern, the framing of an image or the juxtaposition of colors. Throughout history, potters have sought to
embellish the surfaces of their vessels. Ornament can accentuate components of the potwhether rim, foot, or body. In
addition, surfaces can inform us about the status or beliefs of
the owner; they can convey a narrative, a moral, or a metaphor. These surfaces may be representative or abstract and
executed in a myriad of ways.
While a resident artist at Baltimore Clayworks, fellow
resident Jessica Broad was teaching a Print on Clay class
and invited me to join in to see her demonstrate some slipbased methods. The rest, as they say, is history.
Two direct and low-tech methods that inspired me then,
and that I continue to use in various ways within my work,
are monoprinting and toner-resist transfer. There are some
points to keep in mind that will apply to both of the techniques. While I use these techniques with slips formulated
for earthenware, the methods are transferable across clay
and firing types. Similarly, the images included here show
the techniques executed on a flat tile surface. Both the toner
resist and monoprint adapt well to three-dimensional forms.
In each case, the success of the print depends in part on the
moisture content of the clay being printed upon, though it
can be a challenge working on large-scale or very volumetric forms. Ideally, the piece will be at a soft-leather-hard
consistency. For forms with large curved sections, darting
may be required to get the pattern to fit the shape.


Monoprintingwhere an image is created on one surface,

and then transferred to anotheris likely the most direct
print method I employ. I prefer to use clean newsprint to
generate my image, though printed newsprint will also
work. The clean newsprint allows me the space to draw the
image or pattern first in pencil or permanent marker. If applying the print to a more complex form, I make a pattern
of the formcutting the paper to shape with darts to allow
for the curvatures of the piece.
The outline, drawn here using a Chinese brush and commercial black underglaze (figure 1), is the first layer. Images
need to be built up in reverse, since the elements drawn onto
the paper initially will be topmost in the printed image.
The outline is then filled in with colored slips. This layer
can also be scratched away or eroded (figure 2) to allow the
backing layer of the white slip to be brought forward. I apply the white slip last, covering the entire image (figure 3). In
addition to creating a bright background, the layer of white
slip also helps to ensure a complete transfer of the image.
The prepared print is applied to the surface of the piece,
working from one edge to the other to avoid air bubbles.
Use fingers or a soft rib to compress the paper, being careful
not to shift or tear the page (figure 4).
Once the paper driesevidenced by the change in color,
pull it away, revealing the image underneath (figure 5). If
any parts of the print have failed to transfer, the paper may
be carefully lowered and compressed once more. While Im | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook


When creating a monoprint on newsprint, Apply additional layers of colored

slip to define different sections of the
draw or paint the top or outline layer
image, then scratch through to create
first using underglaze and a thin brush.
patterned areas.

Toner-Resist Transfer

The toner-resist transfer technique requires more preparation, but is similarly flexible. The method depends on the
water-resistant property of the toner (rather than the toners
iron content as in decal printing). Its best to experiment with
laser printers or copiers available to determine which may
work best. Line drawings or patterns with equal amounts of
figure and ground are suited to this technique. Using highcontrast images with minimal large open spaces ensures that
the black areas resist the application of pigment and the
printed spaces are consistent in their color application.
The image can be generated through the use of copyrightfree imagery, or drawings made either on paper or digitally.
Many copiers have the capacity to color reverse the image (making what is the black-on-white line drawing into
a white-on-black image). When working with text, letters
need to be mirrored in the original, as the print process will
be the reversemaking the text readable.
This technique is flexible, working well with slips, commercial underglazes, and colorant/frit mixtures. I use a mixture of
two parts Mason stain to one part Ferro Frit 3124. I like the

Apply a backing layer of white slip. This

slip will be visible as a background layer
in all white or patterned areas.

Place the paper image-side down onto a

Once the paper dries (the colors change
tile, use a rubber rib to compress the paper as it dries), pull it away from the clay,
against the clay and to ensure a transfer. revealing the transferred image.

interested in the incomplete transfer possible with this technique, and dont mind the blank spaces, it can also create a
sharp and complete image. This method is flexible, because
it allows underglaze, slips, and stains to be intimately combined with one another.

Add water to the frit and Mason stain mixture until its a consistency thats repelled
well by the toner spaces on the image.

direct control over color that my own stain mixture provides.

Water is slowly added while blending the components together
with a brush or palette knife (figure 6). The mixture may need
to be adjusted to get the right consistency thats repelled well
by the toner spaces of the image. An additional variable is the
pressure on the brush. Working quickly and directly can be the
most efficient form of application.
Loading the brush with pigment, the lines of the motif are
traced, reloading as needed (figure 7 ). The resistant properties
of the toner will push the pigment away from the black areas
of the image, allowing a freer hand. Any stray drops can be
picked up with a sponge or dry brush. Once the sheen has left
the page, the print is applied to the piece and compressed from
the center outward, or from one side to the other to avoid air
bubbles. Using a soft rib, the paper may be further compressed
to ensure transfer. Should the clay be on the drier side, the
back of the page can be dampened with a sponge and compressed again. The paper is pulled up once it has dried (figure
8). It can be reapplied and recompressed if the image didnt
transfer completely.
The versatility of this method lies in its ability to repeat
an image using multiple copies, to execute fine lines, and be
applied to a three-dimensional surface. In addition, with a
quick hand, the page can be backed with a contrasting colored slip (figures 9 and 10). The two techniques detailed here
may also work in concert on the same piece. | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook


Paint the frit and stain mixture onto the Apply the image to clay once the
white areas of your laser-printed image. sheen disappears. Compress the back,
Clean any stray drops with a sponge.
then once the paper dries, peel it off.

After applying the slip, place the image onto the tile, compress, and peel
the paper away. Note the images
added depth.

If desired, apply a backing slip over the
paper pattern before applying it to the
clay. This creates a varied background.


After the bisque firing, apply glazes to
accentuate the pattern. Here the glaze is
applied to fill between the lines.

Add additional layers over the pattern

to the bisque-fired and glazed form by
trailing accent glaze lines.


In glazing on top of existing slip decoration, I seek to continue building visible layers by adding a variety of colored glazes. Glazes are often applied to fill
between the lines of the underlayer (figures 11 and 12), then covered in wax, so
that the colors resist any additional glazes and maintain their integrity in the
firing. Once the wax resist dries, I either pour a glaze over the tile, or for cups
and larger forms, dip the form in glaze. When glazing cups, I hold them with
one finger on the rim, and my thumb on the foot, then dunk the cup in at an
angle, rim-side down. The tumblers feature all of the techniques described here,
applied to a three-dimensional form.

Enhancing Context

From the moment they were introduced to me, monoprinting and toner-resist transfer became ways for me to generate depth in my surfaces and insert more detailed
narratives and pattern references to enhance the context of my work. As my familiarity with these techniques evolved, I became interested in the erosion of images,
making them difficult to read. The incomplete transfer of an image generates a
surface that evokes the age of the object. Currently I use the toner-resist transfer
technique underneath a layer of white slip, further obscuring the pattern as in the
plate image at left.
Through these methods I seek to convey the number of times during the making
process that the object has been handled. The print processes generate a surface that
I hope will encourage exploration, and through that exploration, lead to a deeper
relationship between user and the crafted object.
Martina Lantin teaches ceramics at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont. To see more
of her work, visit

The finished tile showing toner resist

with a white backing slip and added
glaze accents.

This article originally appeared in

the May/June 2014 issue of Pottery
Visit to subscribe. | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook


Cone 610 Glazes

Kimberlee Joy Roth shares her cone 610 oxidation and reduction glaze recipes for matte and shiny glazes.

1 Green Breaks Blue glaze

2 Liz White, Pink, and Green Glaze

3 Liz White with Green Glaze on rim

4 Don Swartz Yellow, Wild Rose Metallic

Green Breaks Blue (1)

Green Glaze (23)

Don Swartzs Base (4)

Cone 810 Oxidation or Reduction

Cone 810 Oxidation or Reduction

Cone 810 Oxidation or Reduction

Gerstley Borate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Lithium Carbonate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Whiting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Nepheline Syenite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
OM4 Ball Clay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Silica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2 %
100 %

Add: Cobalt Carbonate . . . . . . . . . . 1 %

Rutile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 %
Matte kelly green where thin and very shiny
blue with crazing where thick.

Liz White (23)

Cone 910 Oxidation or Reduction
Dolomite. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.96 %
Lithium Carbonate. . . . . . . . . . . . 1.85
Whiting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.81
Custer Feldspar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33.33
EPK Kaolin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.57
Silica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31.48

100.00 %
Do not eliminate lithium or the glaze will settle.
I use 1.85% lithium, but up to 3.7% will work.
Fire to cone 9 to get a satin surface. It is satin
matte at cone 8 and very glossy at cone 10.
Great liner glaze when satincoffee and tea
will not stain it. In reduction, it is a bit blue.

Pink (2)
Cone 610 Oxidation
Whiting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ferro Frit 3134. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Nepheline Syenite . . . . . . . . . . . . .
OM4 Ball Clay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Silica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

20.0 %
100.0 %

Add: Tin Oxide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.5 %

Shiny at all temperatures, gets darker pink as
the glaze gets thicker, white where very thin. I
fire this to cone 9, at cone 8 it is a darker pink.
At cone 10 it is almost white.

Bone Ash. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Talc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Whiting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Custer Feldspar . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
EPK Kaolin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Silica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1.00 %
100.00 %

Add: Copper Carbonate . . . . . . . 4.50 %

Copper Oxide. . . . . . . . . . . 0.25 %
Bentonite. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.00 %
(This glaze is just a slight variation on Don
Swartzs Base and Fred Herbsts Oribe Glaze)
This is the green I brush or dip over Liz White
on the rims of the work.

Wild Rose Metallic (4)

Cone 910 Oxidation or Reduction
Bone Ash. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Lithium Carbonate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Nepheline Syenite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grolleg Kaolin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Add: Spanish Red Iron Oxide. . . . . . .

10 %
100 %
10 %

Add: Copper Carbonate . . . . . . . . . . 2 %
Rutile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 %

Saint Johns Black

Cone 810 Oxidation or Reduction
Albany Slip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80.00 %
Nepheline Syenite . . . . . . . . . . . . 20.00

100.00 %
Add: Cobalt Carbonate. . . . . . . . 7.41 %
At cone 9 this glaze is a very nice satin black.
You can also use cobalt oxide at 5% instead of
7.41% cobalt carbonate. Eliminating the cobalt
carbonate or oxide results in a nice chocolate
brown glaze.

Bone Ash. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Talc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Whiting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Custer Feldspar . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
EPK Kaolin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Silica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1.02 %
100.00 %

For Yellow:
Add: Mason Stain #6440 . . . . . . 1.50 %
For Green:
Add: Copper Carbonate . . . . . . . 1.50 %

Copper Oxide. . . . . . . . . . . 0.75 %
For Light Blue:
Add: Cobalt Oxide . . . . . . . . . . . 0.20 %

Manganese Carbonate. . . . 1.00 %
For Medium Blue:
Add: Cobalt Oxide . . . . . . . . . . . 0.45 %

Manganese Carbonate. . . . 2.25 %
For Dark Blue:
Add: Cobalt Oxide . . . . . . . . . . . 1.00 %

Manganese Carbonate. . . . 5.00 %
For Brown:
Add: Red Iron Oxide . . . . . . . . . . 2.00 %
For Violet:
Add: Mason Stain #6304 . . . . . . 15.00 %
For Tangerine:
Add: Mason Stain #6027 . . . . . . 15.00 %
For Light Green:
Add: Copper Carbonate . . . . . . . 0.50 %

Yellow Ochre . . . . . . . . . . . 5.00 %
For Dark Green:
Add: Iron Chromate . . . . . . . . . . 4.00 %

Cobalt Oxide . . . . . . . . . . . 0.1695%

I fire this to cone 9. It has a satin surface at cone

8. This is a good base glaze for experimenting
with colorant additions.

This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of Ceramics Monthly.
Visit to subscribe. | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook


Workshop Glazes
Get ready for summer workshop season by trying out a few shop glazes used in workshop studios around
the US and Canada. For more recipes from workshop venues, check out the digital edition of this issue.

Meiras Copper Blue


Fat cat red

Cone 10 Reduction

Cone 10 Reduction

Cone 6 Oxidation

Barium Carbonate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Spodumene. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Nepheline Syenite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Silica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

30 %
100 %

Add: Copper Carbonate. . . . . . . . . . . 4 %

Opaque blue green, buttery texture. Use as an
overspray. Not food safe.
Recipe and image courtesy of Meira Mathison,
Ceramics Program Coodinator at Metchosin
International Summer School of the Arts, www.

Dolomite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Talc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Whiting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Zinc Oxide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Nepheline Syenite . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Silica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

9.0 %
100.0 %

Add: Cobalt Carbonate . . . . . . . . . 0.4 %

Rutile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.0 %
Titanium Dioxide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.0 %
Bentonite. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.0 %
Recipe and image courtesy of Bruce Dehnert,
Head of Ceramics at Peters Valley School of Art,

Gerstley Borate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Talc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Whiting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Custer Feldspar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ferro Frit 3134 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
EPK Kaolin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Silica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Add: Tin Oxide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.0 %

Chrome Oxide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.2 %
Recipe and image of Double Handled
Goddess Vase by Gabriel Kline courtesy
of Odyssey Center for the Ceramic Arts,

Izzys Black Screen-Printing Slip

Jacquies Base

Debs Clear

Cone 0410 Oxidation and Reduction

Cone 04 Oxidation

Cone 04 Oxidation

Cedar Heights Redart. . . . . . . . . . . . . 700 g

Ferro Frit 3124. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300 g

1000 g
Add: Black Copper Oxide. . . . . . . . . . 150 g
Black Iron Oxide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 g
Cobalt Oxide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 g
Dry-mix the ingredients then place into a ballmill to grind the slip into a fine powder overnight. Add 8 oz. of corn syrup. Add water and
mix to a viscous, ink-like consistency.
Use as you would screen-printing ink to print
onto leather-hard clay or newsprint for a
newsprint-transfer technique.
Recipe and image of Ballerina Dresses Dream
Clouds courtesy of Israel Davis, faculty member
at Ox-Bow School of Art,

Gillespie Borate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Lithium Carbonate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Nepheline Syenite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
EPK Kaolin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Silica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

38 %
100 %

Add: Bentonite. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 %
For Jacquies Flasho Pink
Add: Rutile. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 %
Tin Oxide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 %
Recipe and image courtesy of Dustin
Yager, Head of Education and Artist Service Programs at Northern Clay Center,

8.0 %
100.0 %

Ferro Frit 3195. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ferro Frit 3134. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
EPK Kaolin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

45 %
100 %

Add: Bentonite. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 %
For Debs Copper Green
Add: Copper Carbonate. . . . . . . . . . . 6 %
Spanish Iron Oxide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 %
Recipe and image courtesy of Dustin
Yager, Head of Education and Artist Service Programs at Northern Clay Center,

This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Ceramics Monthly.
Visit to subscribe. | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook


Rhubarb Crisp Baker

by Sumi von Dassow

After throwing a ring of clay, use
a needle tool to cut about inch
inside the base.

Once the ring has stiffened, use
your hands to shape the ring into a
square or rectangle.

By springtime my green thumb gets really itchy. Ive

gotten my seeds and maybe Ive been able to dig beds.
There will be nothing to harvest yet for weeks, but
green things are starting to come up. One of the earliest edible plants to produce a usable crop is rhubarb,
and by March we may even see it pushing little pink
fists through the earth and unfurling crumpled leaves.
Time to start thinking about making a baking dish for
rhubarb pies and crisps! If you begin this project as
soon as you see the rhubarb starting to emerge, you
can have it fired and glazed in plenty of time to try
ceramic artist Sarah Jaegers rhubarb crisp recipe.
Every cook needs a square or rectangular baking
dish, which is perfect for lasagna and brownies since
you can make square servings. Crisps and crumbles
are scooped out of the dish with a spoon, so they dont
really need to be baked in a square dish, but its fun to
make a square dish anyway. For this baking dish, you
can use glazed porcelain, stoneware, or earthenware

Throw and Alter the Ring

Make a squared baker out of two partsa ring and a

slab. Start with about two pounds of clay and throw
a short, wide cylinder with no bottom. Tip: You dont
need to be scrupulously careful about making sure this
ring has no bottom. If you try too hard to pull all the
clay across the bat, you could pull it completely off the
bat! The ring should be 2 to 3 inches high, though
exact height is not critical. When youre done, use a

Cut a slab to fit the bottom, score,
slip, and join both inside and outside and add handles.

needle tool to cut a groove inch or so inside the

base to separate it from the excess clay in the center
of the bat (figure 1). This creates a foot inside the ring
that will be used to join it to the slab that forms the
If you want to aim for a specific size, say 8-inches
square, you need to do a bit of math. To turn a circle
into a square, start by figuring out the circumference
of your circle. The formula for circumference is pi
(3.14) diameterso a circle with a 10-inch diameter
has a circumference of 31.4 inches. An 8-inch square,
with four 8 inch walls, requires 32 inches totalpretty
close to the circumference of a 10-inch circle. A typical stoneware clay shrinks 12%, which is 18 of the
total. So an 8-inch fired pot is 12% smaller than the
original. To find the original size, divide 8 by 0.875 to
get 9.13.

Roll the Bottom

After you make your clay ring, set it aside to stiffen up

while you make a slab. I like to throw my slab on the
wheel using a couple pounds of claya table or a slab
roller with work just as well. I roughly center the clay,
then flatten it across the bat with the heel of my hand.

Assemble the Baker

Once both the ring and the slab are dry enough to
handle, lift the ring from the bat and shape it with
your hands into a square or rectangle (figure 2). If you
really want it exact, use a dividing web (you can buy | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook


one or make one from directions on Ceramic Arts Daily (, but I do it by eye. Place the reshaped ring on your slab and
draw around the outside with a needle tool, remove it, and cut out the
shape with a sharp blade. Doing this avoids marking the reshaped ring
with your cutting tool. Besides, you need to score and slip both the top of
the slab and the bottom of the ring to join them. Or even better, scrub both
pieces with a toothbrush dipped in Magic Water, making sure to work up
a good amount of slip (Make Magic Water by mixing one gallon of water
with 3 tablespoons sodium silicate and 1 teaspoons of soda ash). Place
the squared-off ring back on the slab and smooth the two pieces together
by working the foot you left inside the ring into the slab (figure 3). Use
fingers and a rib to smooth the two parts together on the outside. Its a
good idea at this point to add some kind of handle; whether it is pulled,
extruded, or cut from a slab is up to you. Handles will make it much easier
to remove the baker from the oven. Allow the baker to fully dry, bisque
fire it, fully cover it with food-safe glazes, and finally fire it to the recommended clay and glaze temperature.
Check out the link under this articles title at for
more info on making ovenware.
Sumi von Dassow is an artist, instructor, and frequent contributor to Pottery Making Illustrated. She lives in Golden, Colorado.



810 cups diced rhubarb

(or combine with strawberries,
huckleberries, apple, etc.)
1 cup sugar
(more or less, to taste)
Grated zest of one orange
2 tablespoons cornstarch
cup cognac

cup unsalted butter

2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
cup nuts (slivered almonds)
pinch of salt
1 egg


Sarah Jaegers Rhubarb Crisp

Mix the fruit, orange zest, and sugar. Dissolve the cornstarch in the cognac and add it
to the fruit.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut the
butter into the flour until it is evenly distributed (pea size). Add
the rolled oats and almonds. Break the egg into a
small bowl, beat it lightly, then add it to the
dry mixture to bind it loosely.
Place the fruit in an oven-safe
baker in an even layer, then
spread the topping over
the fruit. Bake at 350F for
approximately 50 minutes.

Sumis glazed rhubarb baker with

Sarah Jaegers rhubarb crisp. | Copyright 2015, Ceramic Publications Company | Clay Workshop Handbook