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A Simple Clay Pinch Pot

I’ve been inspired! I thought I would give you a little bit of a basic how to guide on making a clay pot! At the end of the article I have linked you to a great little video

Clay for beginners

Are you looking to learn how to make clay pottery? Then you have come at just the right place. Pottery may be just a usual time-pass for you, or it might constitute a bigger part of your life. Whatever may be the case, if you are just starting out, there are two options for you. You could either enroll yourself in a pottery class for beginners or try learning it yourself. If you are choosing the latter option, then these tips might come in handy for you.

Why work with clay?

There is absolutely no doubt that earth and mud is fascinating. It is never boring. There is always something more to learn, more to try out, and more to create. It will also lend to your skill level, regardless of whatever your level of skill would be.

Where is the best place to work?

Clay is best kept in a place of its own or in an outbuilding. This is because the dust is very fine. This makes it difficult for the home vacuum cleaners to pick up these fine specks of dust. So you can try out the following surfaces for working with mud:

  • Floors which are impervious to water and are easy to clean. These include linoleum and concrete
  • A place where you can get easy access to water. However, be careful so that none of the earth goes down the drains. It will then clog up the drains and put the whole draining system upside down!
  • A sturdy table such as a kitchen table
  • A surface which will not stick to clay
  • Sturdy shelves for storing drying pots
  • A cabinet or other storage area for glazes. This should remain out of reach of pets and children.

How to make a basic pinch pot

Pinch pots are known to be the beginner’s guide to pottery making. It can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to form the pot. An additional one or two weeks may be required for the pot to dry.

Directions

  • Begin with a lump of clay which is half as large or slightly smaller than your closed wrist. Then form it into a tight and compact ball.
  • Hold the ball of mud firmly in one hand. With the other hand, use your thumb to push an opening into the earth. This should end about a half or a quarter of an inch from the other side of the ball.
  • Using your thumb, try pushing your fingers in a pinching motion. This will thin out the clay to create the floors and walls of the pot. Do not try to thin it out in one go. Instead, use smaller pinches to work the mud upwards and outwards as it thins.
  • Keep working to make the wall and floor as thick as possible. This is to prevent the pot from cracking.
  • As a last touch, you can either keep top edges to give your pot a rustic look. Or you can add a more sophisticated touch by trimming the edges.
  • The finished pot should then be placed in a safe place where it can be allowed to dry at its own pace. This is because the process of fast cooling can result in the formation of cracks.

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The Crochet Queen: My Wife Learning to Crochet

They say that crochet/knitting is the new yoga. And my wife seems to have joined that bandwagon as well. Taken up as a part-time habit, she now seems to have fully immersed herself in it, it all started when she learnt to crochet a blanket. Given I like to be informed, I dug in and did a little research and it turns out that weaving seems to have amazing health benefits. It makes people feel good in just about every way. She now currently seems to have turned her passion into a business idea. She is now considering on starting up a crochet or knitting store online. I understand how she feels though it’s exactly the feeling I had when I found clay.

So from a binding lover’s perspective, I list below the benefits of crochet/knitting.

crochet blanketImage Source

Used for therapy

Sewing has been known to be a powerful distraction factor. This also helps people in managing their long-time pain. For those who are feeling under the weather or are depressed, knitting can help them to improve their mood. It can also motivate them to connect again with the outside world. It is a conversation starter which allows people to engage in conversations without making eye contact. Looping also helps in building self-esteem and confidence.

  • It is supremely relaxing, which helps in reducing stress and anxiety
    According to psychologists, the constant repeating of a sound, word, phrase, or prayer can elicit the relaxation response. This helps in reducing the heart rate, muscle tension, and also blood pressure. Knitting has been compared to meditation. This is because it allows the knitters to reach a spiritual or “Zen-like” state.
  •  Crochet connects people
    Weaving helps people to turn their personal habits into a social activity. According to a study, it improved on perceived happiness, communication with others, and improved social contact. After all, when you are in a room with a bunch of people who share the same passion as you, you are bound to connect with them.
  •  Weaving can reduce the risk of dementia
    Regular participation in knotting has led to a lower risk of subsequent dementia. This is because you are constantly engaging yourself in one particular activity.
  • It offers a break from busy schedules
    Sewing gives us a rare chance to break away from our busy and fast-paced lives. It allows us the golden chance of being alone with our thoughts. It is our own private bubble where no one is allowed to intrude.
  •  Knitting makes people happy
    Knitting has been known to give people a certain kind of satisfaction. It makes them feel proud that they are producing wonderful results with their own hands. At the same time, they are also making a positive contribution towards the society.
  •  Sewing improves concentration and can also provide an outlet for excessive energy
    When you are looping, you are channeling all your concentration on getting that one particular aspect right. This not only helps in improving your concentration but also your thinking ability. It allows you to gain more insight into how to make more meaningful decisions. In addition, through weaving, you are channeling your excessive energy in a more positive manner.

So for all you knitters  out there out there, just like my wife, continue what you are doing.

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Beautifully Painted Handmade Pottery: Reveal Your Artistic Skills

If you have a creative mind and can give wings to your imagination, then pottery making will be a lot of fun for you. Once you have created a pottery jar from terra cotta, ceramic or porcelain, it is time for you to paint it with beautiful colors.

The beautifully painted handmade pottery looks interesting and reveals your artistic brilliance. So, customize the pottery pieces that you make as per your taste by following these tips.

How to Color Pottery?

colored pottery

The more colorful the prettier it is

  • Get hold of colors of ceramic glaze from any art supply store and pour them into shallow paint dishes.
  • As there may be accidental spills, be careful and place the pottery on a sheet of newspaper and keep a rough cloth handy.
  • Now, as a next step dip your paint brush into your favorite glaze color and start painting the glaze onto the jar. You can either choose to paint your jar with a single color and give it a monochromatic look or you can paint it with a wide variety of colors to make it look more appealing.
  • Now, dip an art sponge into the glaze and press it onto the jar. Sponges are used for giving a speckled look to the jar. If you want shapes or figures on your jar, you can make use of sponges that are available in different shapes.
  • For adorning your jars with dots or lines, use toothpicks. Dip the toothpick into your favorite color glaze. Press the toothpick’s tip onto the jar and add some small patterns or dots. If you want to paint a line, press the entire length of the toothpick and press the tip if you want to draw a dot.
  • Now, allow the jar to dry for 12 hours and then bake the jar in a kiln. Set to medium-high heat for at least 6-7 hours and allow the colored pot to cool for a couple of hours. Be cautious not to touch the pot before 6 hours.

Make Use of Fingertips For Painting Dots:

use hands

Use your hands to color pottery

If you want to adorn your pots with different colored dots. Just make use of your fingers.

Your finger tips can paint the best dots on ceramics and pottery. Apart from this, this is simple and easy. Prior to start painting finger print dots, you should make sure that your fingers are clean. They should be free from grease, dirt, or anything that can contaminate your piece.

Also, do not forget to clean your fingers thoroughly before switching to another color. Keep a damp sponge ready. The spots created with your fingers are perfectly round and will look stylish.

Color Makes Your Creation Look Prettier

Whether it is just a flower vase, a garden container or just a show piece, painting your pottery pieces on your own gives you a great sense of achievement.

So, pick up a paint brush and bright colored ceramic glazes to make a drab pot look prettier. Your handmade pottery is sure to attract, not just admirers, but buyers.

Sometimes, the color in your art pieces makes the difference.

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A Geburtstag catchup between old friends.

Hello!

A new post, this is a little different. But, I hope you enjoy.

Over the past month we have had a dear friend from Germany stay with us. Our friend Mirko is a potter who has been visiting family and friends, I managed to convince him to stay with us for a little bit. We go along way back, we originally met when I was working in China and Mirko was a student at the University at the time. I was working as a student advisor during a ‘gap’ year. Anyway, Mirko and I hit it off. It has been a long time since we have seen each other, but he has gone on to do great work in the world of pottery so I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you his journey and also pick his brain a little on his works.

So a little informal interview for you all!

Our Chat

Me: Mirko! It has been so long friend.

Mirko: First, I must I will refrain from the lustige sprüche , ich wünschen Ihnen einen frechen Geburtstag.

Me: Way over my head there.

Mirko: I just wished you a happy birthday.

Me: Ah thank-you! You remembered! Okay, lets get into this. Could you share with me what you have been working on lately?

Mirko: Sure thing, we have been up to lots of fun things. I now have a small pottery school just outside of Hamburg. It’s a beautiful little oasis for students to come and work their magic on the wheels on weekends. We have been up and running for about 1 year and a half.
Me: Fantastic, and what has the response been so far?

Mirko: Amazing! It has been really special, we hold mainly beginner workshops as its always nice to start with inspired newbies to the world of pottery and to ensure they are crafting to the best possible practice. Some which I learnt from yourself! We take them through a journey of getting familiar with working with clay and then move on to actually creating a unique piece.
Me: Sounds fun, my skills are not quite up to your standard these days. I saw you have started to pop culture inspired pieces. They look to be a lot of fun!

Mirko: Yeah, I was selling standard more traditional pottery works at the local market. However, I was just playing around with a few pieces and the pop culture pieces went crazy. I’m considering opening an online store (I may have to pick your brain about that one) as literally every market we sell out.
Me: What’s your best seller?

Mirko: Without a doubt, star wars. But, this is no surprise leading up to Christmas at the release of the new film. It was a perfect storm.
Me: How many did you think you sold?

Mirko: Star Wars pieces, in total leading up to December. I sold roughly about 250 pieces!

Me: You’re rich!

Mirko: Not quite, but they did pay for the holiday. Luckily I had a few people working on them to get them out quickly as the demand was just too great.

Me: Students?

Mirko: Ofcourse, it was a great opportunity for them to make a little extra cash but also hone their skills. I’ve got a great bunch of workers with me now.

Me: Excellent, so whats the plan for 2016?

Mirko: Much of the same, looking to expand into more advance courses. Also potentially do some more intensive courses, but I want to take the journey online. We don’t have a web presence, as we really have been inundanted by word of mouth. But, now its time. As there maybe an opportunity to explore online classes through somewhere like https://www.udemy.com
Me: Great idea! Udemy is fantastic. I think that would be a hit. Particularly if you did the pop culture inspired ideas and turn it into a class.

Mirko: Exactly.

Me: Excellent, before I wind this up. Could you tell me what the craziest pottery experience you have ever had was?

Mirko: Without a doubt when I was in Japan. I went to a pottery master, just outside Tokyo. He was the most insane artisan I have ever witnessed. His attention to detail was second to none. But, one of the most special things about his work – was his speed. He worked at triple rate compared to my skills. What took him an hour to complete, it would have taken me at least a day to get his kind of result. But, even still it would not compare.

Me: I have seen some works from Japan. You gave me one from memory! Yes you did.

Mirko: Yes, I did. They are literally exceptional pieces of art. I think that was the best most inspiring experience I have had in the world of pottery.

Me: I could imagine! Well look thanks for sharing some insights! Not too sure how much of an interview that was. But, it was great to hear what’s been happening “on the record”
Mirko: I think we should continue this off the record now and have a drink!

Me: Sounds like a plan!

Thanks for tuning in guys! Hope you enjoyed our ramble! Pop Culture pottery! The next big thing

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Best Clay to Use for Handmade Pottery

Handmade pottery refers to ceramics including art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay. The clay is baked at high temperatures in a kiln so as to produce the ceramics in a process known as firing.

For one to produce the best ceramics, they have to choose the best clay for handmade pottery.

In the past, before the industrial revolution, potters used to dig up and process their own clay. Nowadays, clay is being sold by suppliers on the market already processed and ready to use.

The clay used for pottery should not contain lime. Alkalis in clay can be tolerated but presence of limecannot as when the clay is fired, lime turns into calcium oxide. This will absorb water, expand inside the pot, and cause it to crack, flake or chip.

The 3 main types of pottery clay

pottery clay

The best materials create the best products

The type of pottery one wishes to create will go a long way in determining the clay used. There are three main types of clay: earthenware, kaolin and stoneware. There are also clay mixtures such as porcelain clays, fire clays and ball clay.

Porcelain and kaolin clay are considered identical and are so far the best clay types for making pottery. They are also the most expensive in the market. They mostly consist of silicate and are not affected by high temperatures.

If you choose this clay for your pottery, it is white or pale in color unless it has been added iron oxide to give it a red hue. It is the right choice if one wants to make high-quality pottery or porcelain.

fireclay

Sample fireclay

Ball clay is also close in resemblance and qualities to the kaolin and porcelain clay. This type of clay however, comes from a swampy and more acidic area hence it forms a tougher clay. It is therefore of higher quality and also produces tougher pots.

This type is best for potters who want to make more durable ceramics of high quality. It is however expensive due to this qualities.

For everyday wares such as pots, urns and other utensils such as pestles and mortals, then earthen clay is the best choice. Earthen clay is best for making lower quality pottery in case one does not have a kiln.

Earthen clay is fired at lower temperatures making it easier to use for smaller potters. It is however not water proof and the finished product can chip or scratch easily.

Fireclay is similar to earthen clay, but can be fired up in high temperatures. It is mostly used for making pots that need to withstand high temperatures. It is therefore suitable for laboratory equipment rather than every day ware.

For smaller budgets or amateurs when it comes to the art of pottery, then stoneware is the best choice for you. It is the cheapest and most abundant. internet of thingsThey do require a larger kiln to harden them.

Use the Internet to research information and ideas

Before deciding on the clay you want to use, you have to first consider; what type of pottery you want to make, the size of the kiln, and also if you can afford it.

Research to get the best suppliers to buy from, so as to get the best clay for your handmade pottery.

 

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How to Make Coloured Pottery

Handmade pottery can be exquisite because there is so much detail that goes into each piece.  However, with coloured pottery, it does seem a lot more complicated and it can be.  Though, coloured pottery is very appealing and it is very distinctive also.  Coloured pottery pieces do appeal to more people because of their distinctiveness but how to make coloured pottery?

Using Raw Oxide Pigments

This has become a very popular way to made handmade pottery and ceramics with colour within them.  You could use a variety of things such as copper oxide, chrome oxide, iron oxide and cobalt; however they can all be good because they can create green, yellow, brown and blue shades.  These can be used to fire on just underneath the glaze of the item you’re making.  Once the shades have been added to the item, they need to be cooled down and sometimes; the colours can vary once the item is finished completely.

Using Ceramic Stains for Shade

With the ceramic stains, they are going to offer a lot more options.  There isn’t just going to be yellows and greens available but rather a whole variety of tonal colours.  There is a very fine process which the colour powder has to go through in order to make the shades stable.  The process also allows the colours to be varied from light to dark and in fact this process is used by big manufacturers.  However, putting handmade ceramics for sale with colour can be very popular.

On Glaze Decoration

Ceramics such as porcelain can actually be decorated with the on glaze effect.  This can be really popular for most people since it’s a great way to mix colours and create fantastic decorative pieces.  Handmade pottery and ceramics are being decorated with the on glaze effective and it really can offer lots of quality.  There is a massive range of colour available and they are really durable and hardware as well which means the decoration lasts longer.  These methods are quite popular and versatile too.

In Glaze Decoration

With the in glaze decoration, the design can be extremely popular.  Instead of decorating the ceramics after they have been completed, it is done whilst they are being made.  This helps to produce a very lovely and unique design.  However, handmade ceramics for sale are increasingly decorated with the in glaze effect.  It can be really good especially if you plan to create some decorative pieces.

It’s A Fine Art

To be honest, making coloured pottery can be extremely difficult but it can also be really lovely.  The finished result can be utterly amazing because there are so many different designs and there is a lot of versatility with all methods.  That is why more are choosing the coloured handmade pottery than ever before.  It’s certainly very appealing and it has become a fine art to master also.

Learn To Love It

To be honest, there really is a lot more to coloured pottery than what it might seem.  However, it is still a fantastic option to consider and certainly one which is appealing.  This is delicate art but it is also one which is simple to do once you know what to do.  Anyone can make coloured pottery and if you are in the business of making and selling handmade pottery and ceramics it’s important to know how you can add colour to the designs.

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How to Spot Fake Hand Made Pottery

handmade artistic pottery

Pottery is an Art

Potters spend years learning and perfecting their skill of making handmade pottery. The result is beautiful handmade pieces of pottery that everyone can love and enjoy. This handmade pottery is valuable and can be sold for a lot of money because of the time and effort that went into making it. Because of this, some people have started making fake pottery or pottery that is mass produced and sold as an handmade piece. To avoid spending money on a fake piece of pottery, here is how you can spot one.

Spotting a Fake

The easiest way to spot a fake is to pick it up and feel it. The bottom of handmade pottery with be unglazed. You will be able to see the natural clay. Before a piece of pottery is fired, it is dipped in a fast drying glaze. This glaze will stick to paints and will also stick to any equipment being used. Because of this, the bottom of the piece is wiped off and cleaned so the potter does not have to clean off their equipment. This area will be rough. Also, look on the edges of the piece. You should see imprints of the pincers the potter used to handle the piece. Though, if you do not see these imprints, it does not automatically mean that the piece is machine manufactured.

Collecting Pottery

If you are a collector of pottery you know that research is very important in finding out whether or not a piece of pottery is handmade. Doing your research will tell you what the piece should look like, how it should feel, how heavy it should be, and other specific information about the piece. Research will also tell what label should be on the piece and what it will look like. Machines are very good at forging some of this information, but it is nearly impossible to create an exact replica of a piece of pottery.

Ask Around

When you are looking at a piece ask the seller information about it. Where did they get it from? How old is it? Sellers love to tell potential customers all about the pottery they have. They want to show you that they know they have a genuine, handmade piece of pottery and want you to know it. You can also find out if the piece of pottery is fake by looking at other items they sell. They could be selling all kinds of fakes right there in their store. Dig around and see what they have to offer.

handmade artistic pottery

Price will Tell

If you are considering dropping some serious cash on a piece of pottery, do your homework, ask around, and look at every detail of the piece, even the price. Price will normally tell you whether or not it is handmade pottery, but there are people that will try to scam you. If it is just a few bucks, it probably is not handmade. If it is a couple hundred, wait before you buy. Learn everything about the piece and determine for yourself whether or not the piece is worth purchasing and for that matter real.see more at http://www.collectorsweekly.com/art-pottery/overview/stories.

Purchasing handmade pottery can be a risky business, but if you follow this advice you will be able to spot a fake from a mile away.

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How Handmade Ceramic Tiles Are Winning Hearts

Handmade ceramic tiles

Back in the day, people used handmade ceramic tiles to decorate their homes. They were crafted with love and sometimes you even knew the person that made the tiles you bought. With the advancement of technology everything has become less personal.

Things like wall tiles all kind of look the same. But, one thing has remained personal and is winning the hearts of millions worldwide: handmade ceramic tiles.read new post at http://www.ecraftmart.com/handmade-pottery-wedging-clay-into-a-cone-shape/.

Winning Hearts

Handmade ceramic tiles are winning over hearts because of the love and care that was put into them and the ability you have to customize your home with them. You can choose just about any style in the world and you will be able to form it with handmade ceramic tiles.

Durability

They offer great durability in that they can withstand humidity, they are fireproof, and stain, liquid and odor resistant. This amazing durability, coupled with its personal feel, produces tiles that are a little more expensive, but totally worth it.

Thicknesses

Another great thing about handmade ceramic tiles is that they vary in thickness. From as low as 3/8 of an inch and up, you could choose all kinds of colors and textures to fit your every need. You could choose to have all of the tiles be the same thickness or you could choose to have them all be different. There is so much diversity, the possibilities are endless!

Colors and Designs

Because of the variety of handmade ceramic tiles, you can choose to have your tiles be in wide range of colors and designs. You can have them all be a different color or a different shade of the same color. Tiles literally come in every color imaginable, so there is no shortage of creativity when selecting your handmade ceramic tiles!

Shapes!

On top of the millions of designs you have to choose from with just colors and thickness, you can also choose shape. Not all ceramic tiles are squares. You can choose triangles, circles, half circles, diamonds, crosses and so many other shapes, it would fill up this page!

Materials

They are also made in a verity of different materials, such as porcelain, which will give you even more of a selection to choose from. On top of all the different colors, designs, thicknesses, shapes and materials you can choose from, you can also choose whether or not you want them to be glazed. The possibilities for a custom design are endless!

Handmade ceramic tiles

Choose a Pattern

The absolute best part about using handmade ceramic tiles is the ability to put them in any pattern you want. You could have yellow and green triangles shaped, two inch thick porcelain unglazed ceramic tiles and put them in the shape of circle. Or you could choose your tiles to be any color in the world, with any shape, at any thickness and put them in a crescent shape above your stove or fireplace and it would still look great!

Be Creative

Handmade ceramic tiles are winning the hearts of millions because you can choose your dream design without having to to sacrifice anything. Any design you could possibly imagine is doable with handmade ceramic tiles. There is no hold on your creativity! Anything and everything is possible with handmade ceramic tiles!

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