Photo from - The Complete Potter - 2003

Ceramics - Forming techniques

Pottery can be produced in three basic forming traditions: handwork, wheel work, and slipcasting. It’s very common for wheel-worked pieces to be finished by handwork techniques. Slipcast pieces tend not to be, as that negates one of the prime advantages of casting. Handwork methods…
Lisa Hammond-photo Stephen Bravne

Decorative and finishing techniques

Additives can be worked into moist clay, prior to forming, to produce desired characteristics to the finished ware. Various coarse additives, such as sand and grog (fired clay which has been finely ground) give the final product strength and texture, and contrasting colored clays…
Kate Schuricht-photo Stephen Brayne

Glazing and firing techniques

Glazing is the process of coating the piece with a thin layer of material that during firing forms a glass coating. Compositions are varied but are usually a mixture of minerals that fuse at temperatures lowers than the body itself. This is important for functional earthenware vessels,…
Jeff Oestreich-photo Stephen Brayne

Raku

Rakuyaki or Raku is a form of Japanese pottery characterized by low firing temperatures (resulting in a fairly porous clay body), lead glazes, and the removal of pieces from the kiln while still glowing hot. In the traditional Japanese firing process, the pot is removed from the hot…
Jane Perryman-photo Stephen Brayne

Western raku techniques

The use of a reduction chamber at the end of the raku firing was introduced by the American potter Paul Soldner in the 1960s, in order to compensate for the difference in atmosphere between wood-fired Japanese raku kilns and gas-fired American kilns. Typically, pieces removed from…
Kate Schuricht-photo Stephen Brayne

Porcelain

Porcelain is a hard ceramic substance made by heating at high temperature selected and refined materials often including clay in the form of kaolinite. Porcelain clay when mixed with water forms a plastic paste which can be worked to a required shape or form that is hardened and made…
Kate Schuricht-photo Stephen Brayne

Faience

Faience or faïence is the conventional name in English for fine tin-glazed earthenware on a delicate pale buff body. The invention of a pottery glaze suitable for painted decoration, by the addition of an oxide of tin to the slip of a lead glaze, was a major advance in the history…
Hans Coper-photo Stephen Brayne

Slipcasting

Slipcasting is an easy technique for the mass-production of pottery, especially for shapes not easily made on a wheel. A liquid clay slip (technically a slip) is poured into plaster moulds and allowed to form a layer, the cast, on the inside cavity of the mould. The slip can be formulated…