The Perilous Life of Pottery

I’ve decided to put together some time-lapse videos showing the different stages of the life of a piece of pottery.

My technique is by no means the best, but I think it may give you some insight into what a piece goes through before you even get a chance to see it.


Stage One – Throwing

So you have a lump of clay.

What do you do with it?

You chuck it on a wheel, of course 🙂


Stage Two – Trimming

Once you’ve thrown a decent looking pot, trimming – some people call it, turning – is your chance to refine the shape and make it beautiful.


Stage Three – (Only for mugs) – Attaching a handle

Once a mug has been trimmed, you need to give people something to hold it with. Although I find that a bit diva-ish, bowls don’t insist on a special thing to help people hold them…

Anyway, here’s how you ‘pull’ a handle. I decided time lapse was safer, because normal speed would just be too rude 😉


Stage Three – (for other pieces) – Surface decoration

This is where I get all artsy, I roll out some clay, cut out shapes and stick them on. It’s quite simple really, but not enough focus or a bit too much pressure on leatherhard clay and you can deform it, crack it or completely destroy it. 


Stage Four – Glazing

Once you have decorated your piece, you then have a choice.

To underglaze or not to underglaze?

Underglaze is colour put onto the piece either on Greenware – when the clay is dry, but has not been fired, or on Bisque – like a pre-firing, to firm up the piece and making it safer to decorate.

Occasionally, over-enthusiastic decorating can bring about the demise of an unsuspecting piece

881b387c-10a8-4da0-b9a2-56675f9bcbec.jpeg

The benefit of underglaze is that you can control the colour and do more intricate work.

If you decide against underglaze, you have a choice of brush on glazes or dipping glazes. My dipping is rubbish, so I’m unlikely to make a video for fear of being pilloried 🙂

Two things I definitely know:

  1. you never know how the glaze will come out of the Kiln and

  2. the Kiln gods delight in surprise/mischief


And if the piece survives the Final Firing, it is truly a monumental achievement.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the journey they go through before they start their many years of long service to you, the new owner… 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s