Pottery Blog

For an example of throwing and producing a jug - have a look at this video.  Music Link - SGQ here

Bulgarian Pottery

 With the pottery being placed in the countryside we have a lot of Eastern European farm labourers around. Some of them take an interest in what we are doing here. Costadean comes from Bulgaria and was fascinated with the designs and similarity of clay colour. Of course, terracotta has been worked for centuries and he brought in a lovely example of the type of pottery they produce in Bulgaria - as seen on the right here. This is a wonderful decor and I'm glad he took the initiative to let me see it. Just shows that these people like to bring their home comforts over with them.

17/09/09 I produced some glaze from ashes. First of all I made a fire and let it cool down over night. After crushing the charcoaled embers, I added this to a gallon of trans glaze materials in it. I left the materials to soak after giving it a good stir. After repeated sieving, I was happy to test out the glaze on some buff earthenware. The result is a nice subtle green trans with black flecks in it. Ratios work out as: Wood Ash 32% Borax Frit 40%  China Clay 14%  Cornish Stone 10%  Whiting 4%

Archaeological finds unearthed in Pittenweem. 

23/09/09 Okay, well this is not a dig - they were not unearthed here at Pittenweem Pottery. I've been studying Romano Pottery (Samian) and trying to imitate their style rather than replicate a known vessel. Among the vases is an oil lamp. Some of the techniques used include impressions and sgraffito.

Archaeology link here if you have an interest.

23/09/09 Pottery vessels are either functional, ornamental or both. They vary in size, shape & form (3D), whether they be earthenware, stoneware or porcelain (putting Raku in with earthenware) – and then there are a whole host of decorating methods used (including slips, under-glaze, glaze, over-glaze, sgraffito etc etc).

 There are so many varieties of shape too. The main part of the shape being the body. There may be a shoulder, neck, collar, rim and a whole varieties of bases. Then we may finish the vessel with a handle with many variations in shape & form, with height, width and rim diameter influencing the overall form.

 Body Types  can be globular, ovoid, tapered (carrot shape), cylindrical, priform or narrow. Piriform is pear-shaped. So at the bottom of the vessel, its waist comes out.

 The shoulders can be rounded, or so smooth that they almost are not there. Of course, some pots have no shoulders at all. Another type of shoulders is ‘Carinated’ – that is, it has a distinct ridge where the shoulder meets the body and perhaps the neck. Often a potter will throw the upper part of this vessel separately as the ridge area may be too weak to support the rest of the pot.

 Necks, some pots have them, some don’t. They could be short and narrow or broad and wide. The cylindrical neck looks very pleasing the eye as does the hourglass neck. Perhaps the least favourable is the conical shape neck.

 We have a new range of gift ideas here. Hand Crafted Soaps by Susan are now at the Pittenweem Pottery & Gallery. Susan also does Wedding Favours. So if you are planning a wedding, go to the Cottage Soap & Gift Gallery Ltd for Wedding Favours too.

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 Coming soon - a picture of the wood-ash glazed pots

 Wood-ash glazes are better for high temperature glazes.

 The Rim finishes or terminates the vessel and will determine how functional it is, along with durability and beauty. Among the types of rims are the beaded rim, flaring, rounded, collar, triangular and most beautiful, the flanged rim. The everted rim gently widens at the top. A bi-conical rim looks like two cones appearing to meet each other. The pulley rim is aid to look like a pulley wheel. Some pots do not have rims.

Base Types have many variations but they fall into about 6 popular shapes. Flat, Ringed (footring), flared, rounded, long hollow, short hollow & cylindrical. If we go back into history, we have others too, such as the rounded basal point, spiked & tapered, pointed, knobbed & button.

Handles in profile will come in as many shapes as there are potters. Well, maybe not as many, but you can certainly add to this list. Also, it will make a difference as to where the handle is placed. Obviously, handles needs to be decorative as well as functional. Some handles have long straight sides and others are small little ring shaped handles. Many potters are putting on ‘D’ style ridged handles. I guess these do not require the sitting upside down for a day, where as an ear-shaped handle will require sitting upside down for 24 hours to let the handles harden.  If you do not do this, the handle will droop.

Handles in section can be oval, rectangular, grooved, ridged, circular, semi-circular, bifid & trifid. Bifid meaning it has two rods (coils) and trifid being three rods. I guess we can add to this too.

Repairing broken Pottery

I'm always being asked how to repair broken pottery and porcelain. With a lot of patience, I would say. But of course, you also need some glue. If you have decided not to take it to a restorer you may try yourself. However, the suggestion here is not what they would use. I'm not an expert on these types of things, but I have found that UHU is  a good glue. Basically, if you do use this, you need to read the instructions. It will tell you to apply glue to both CLEAN surfaces and wait till it is almost dry. So, don't go putting your fingers over the break, as this is not good for the glue to adhere. When you put the two pieces together, don't be tempted to play about cleaning off the excess glue. Have some adhesive tape handy to support the mend and hardening of the glue. Give it at least 24 hours before you carefully try to clean off the glue. It should just come off with your finger nail - if not, use some sand paper. Be gentle. Any repair mean that it will now just be a piece to look at. You can't wash it or use it anymore.  If there are many piece to be fixed, each piece should be laid out on the worktop before the work is begun, so you know which piece goes where. 

You may also need to add colour to touch up various parts. You will need to decide whether to use matt finish, sheen or gloss and will need to colour match too. In the pottery workshop, I had a piece that fell just before it was to go into the kiln for a glaze firing. The colour had already been fixed, but I managed to colour in the broken part and to apply a little more glaze on it and it came out perfectly. Not so easy though if you haven't made the piece and don't have all the colours on hand.

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