Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: bowls, classes, surface decoration, wheelthrowing

Last night during my Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class, we tackled making a bowl on purpose… instead of a cylinder gone bad. We discussed the differences… and how I can see if it started out as a cylinder… tsk-tsk!

After doing a demo on a basic bowl, I explained how the wheel pretty much makes the plain bowl for you… but it’s up to YOU to decorate it and make it your own! So I threw a bunch of basic bowls during class for us to “play with” later!

And then we re-grouped when I was done throwing all of the bowls. We then went through a quick barrage of tricks & techniques for doing some surface decorations to their bowls. None of them are too difficult. It’s more about encouraging them to give it a try, commit to something, having fun… and i fit doesn’t work, we can always squish it up, re-wedge it and try again. IT’S JUST CLAY!!!

Bowl #1 – The “Control” Sample… this is what they all started out like…

Bowl #2 – a simple fluted edge in four places

Bowl #3 – a simple flared-out flange

Bowl #4 – A wider flared flange… more “canvas” for decorating!

Bowl #5 – a split rim with two side dents…
good potential for a basket handle to go up & over the top

Bowl #6 – Another split rim – this time with four dents making kind of a quatrefoil squared-off effect

Bowl #7 – Another split rim… this time with eight finger-pinched sections

Bowl #8 – another split rim with eight dented sections… four inwards & four outwards – creating a bit of a lotus effect

Bowl #9 – Thick white slip with a tight spiral dragged through using the rounded end of my wooden knife.

Bowl #10 – Thick white slip with some concentric banding.

Bowl #11 – Thick white slip with loose fingsr-painting squiggles.

Bow #12 – Thick white slip with groovy squiggle pattern using the rounded end of my wooden knife.

Bowl #13 – Chattering…. rhythmic tapping of a rubber rib through the thick white slip while the bowl was spinning on the wheel.

Bowl #14 – Another bowl with chattering….
this time a bit more angular & linear in the center… by request.

Bowl #15 – An ombre blended gradation of black & white slips… then a fun spiral dragged through both.

So for now they’re all under plastic up in my studio. The class demo was a lot of fun for everyone… just trying to show off some tricks & techniques for decorating basic bowls! I will continue to “detail” them… and possibly do a little stamping in the days to come!

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