You probably remember some variation of pinch pots from grade
school or Scouts. This method has been around for about as long as people
have, and of course, any object that can be made with the earth clays, we
"polyheads" snitch for our own. For example, Donna Kato and others have refined many of these techniques regarding Pinch Bottles and Pots in their videos and books.
Start with a blob of clay, any color or scrap clay. This particular clay is a mix made from tearing pieces of Granitex jade, Fimo Soft jade, Premo green and laying them at random on Premo translucent. After I'd torn and restacked the sheets as they came out of the pasta machine a few times, I then knocked some very fine crumbs of very old black Fimo onto the sheet and ran it through a few more times, varying the direction, to get this mix.
|Work the clay into a smooth ball,
then flatten it slightly and begin to indent it with your thumbs, pulling
the outside edges upward. Beginning at the bottom of this bowl, begin to
feel for uniform thickness as you're turning it in your fingers,
compressing the thicker areas and pulling the excess created up into the
top part of the bowl. As this part of the forming continues, you will be
trying to get the walls of the vessel equally thick all the way up. I had
to cut my thumbnails for this project. *g*
|When the vessel is about half as
tall as the eventual size, it's time to start completing the second half
of the sphere. Turning the clay constantly in your hands, gradually ease
the diameter smaller, taking care to keep the thickness even. Squeeze your
thumbs together from the outside, then reach inside with a finger to pull
the thickened area upward. Turn, repeat. Keep turning, keep it moving,
always checking for consistent walls and smoothness. |
|Right about here, it's kind of like
you "downshift," and though you're continuing the same motions, you're
doing them much "smaller." Hope that makes sense. *g* Little bits at a
time, to keep your consistent walls and avoid huge bumps. When the opening
is so small that you can't hook a finger inside to pull that thicker clay
upward, you can use the handle of a paintbrush or a stick pen as a
"brayer" to roll the clay against your thumb from the inside.
Squeeze together, pull up....
Coax that sphere smaller and smaller. You might have to really think
about what you're doing the first few tries, but believe me, it will
When the opening is very small, make sure that you are trapping as much
air as possible... if you notice that one spot is collapsed, open it back
up and force that wall outward. Pull the opening into a point, then smoosh
(yes that's a technical term *g*) it down with your thumb while turning
the sphere. Smooth the clay down to blend and lose the edges.
|Roll the sphere gently in your
hands to shape it, then roll it on a flat surface to smooth out
fingerprints and bumps.
Let it sit for a while to get cool and firm up. I'm going to mix up
some more while this one cools.
When it's cool, you can begin to shape it in whatever form you can
think up. I really like old jars and amphorę, and use those kind of shapes
a lot. I'm turning, pressing the base into the table and narrowing the
base at the same time.
|More turning, keep shaping....
The idea is to make small changes at any one time, and if you're
looking for a symmetrical piece, to do whatever you do to one side to the
other, to keep the shape balanced.
I like to use a pen to "brayer" the curves and outside of the walls...
removes all kinds of 'dings' that your piece might have gotten along the
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