Advanced Final Ceramics Narrative


This semester I learned how to create a piece using raku clay and raku firing techniques. To create my Raku cylinder I cut a rectangle out of a flattened slab of clay. I then pressed a design onto one side of the clay and wrapped it around a pipe with newspaper. I then used my remaining clay to cut, slip and score a bottom onto my cylinder. After my piece dried I added one coat of Dolphin glaze. To create my Raku cylinder I cut a rectangle out of a flattened slab of clay. I then pressed a design onto one side of the clay and wrapped it around a pipe with newspaper. I then used my remaining clay to cut, slip and score a bottom onto my cylinder. After my piece dried I added one coat of Dolphin glaze.

I also learned how to use coils to creat a tea pot. To create my tea pot I started by first creating a circular base from a slab. I then cut a coil so it would fit around the perimeter of the base. I slipped and scored to connect each coil together. Then I added a tiny bit of water and smoothed together the coils on the inside. I also featured decorative coil layers of snails, braids, raindrops, rainbows and spheres. My top edge was one final coil to unify my piece. I created my handle with a coil and cutting each end at a diagonal. I created my spout by rolling out a very thick coil and forming it around my coil. I had to carefully cut the ends at an angle so the spot would pour properly (if my pot was functional). I added both my handle and spout by scoring, slipping, and smoothing. 

I learned how to create a reliquary box out of clay. First, I slab rolled sea mix clay and cut six squares, six inches by six inches. I then used an angle cutter on all sides of all of the squares, saving the extra clay. I slipped and scored the angled sides attaching the squares in a box shape. As each corner of my box was created I placed the extra clay from earlier in the seems and smoothed it out. I then used a wire cutter to create the lid of my box and attached a circle piece of clay to the lid for the handle. I glazed, sgraffitoed, and used stencils to decorate the inside and outside of my box. 

I improved my throwing this semester by creating two nesting bowls. I threw the larger one on the wheel first then used calipers to measure the dimensions of my bowl. Using these measurements I created the smaller bowl so that it could nest in the larger one.

Finally, I have learned how to create a mug using slabs. I used a template to cut the slab of clay. I then tapped a paper towel around a paper cup and used that to help form my mug shape. Using the excess clay from the clay I traced the circular bottom of the mug, slipped and scored, and attached it. I then used additive and subtractive techniques to create tiger strips and ears. Using a coil technique I attached a handle to my mug.

Artist Statements

Reliquary Box

I was inspired by websites about the symptoms of depression and impactful photos I found on the internet that artistically expressed what depression is like for those who suffer from it. The symptoms I learned about consisted of feeling broken, but that it is sometimes hard to tell because you can put on a happy front while feeling miserable inside. My aunt, who is one of my best friends, is diagnosed with depression but she is one of the happiest people I know. Not enough people are aware that depression is a sickness and requires medical aid, it is not just something someone can change on their own. 

While creating my box I used my knowledge of making slab rolled clay and slipping and scoring to form the shape of my box. I knew the thickness of the sides of my box were very important so I triple checked they were correct when rolling out my clay. I also knew to wait for the clay to dry slightly so walls would stay in place. Using a ruler I made sure each side of my box was six by six inches. I used wood tools, a wire cutter, rib tool, and a pin tool to form my box. I first under glazed the outside of my box completely yellow. I then used the spray booth to spray orange onto my box with the end goal for the exterior of my box to look like a sunset. I made sure to ombré the orange into the yellow. I then sgrafittoed the outside by carving in “cracks.” I then undergalzed the inside of my box purple. After one firing I then sponged on dark blue to the inside and used a template to glaze white rain with clouds inside as well so it appeared like a dark and rainy storm. I only clear glazed the outside of my box to increase the contrast between the inside and outside. I used bright orange, yellow, purple, white, and dark blue lower fire glazes. I made sure to be extra careful when using sharp tools, to wear a mask when using the spray booth, and to make sure my box had no sharp edges.

I feel that my piece overall was successful because it expresses what I intended and looks like my plan. Next time I would be more careful when glazing and have done more layers so I wouldn’t have to go back later to coverup mistakes. The glazing on the outside could have been better with less areas of distraction. This project took me a very long time to create from actually forming the box to firing it several times with different layers of glaze. Forming the box the was on the easier side, but the glazing with sgraffito was more difficult than I had expected with all the layers and trying not to effect previous work.

Final Project

I was inspired by other ceramic students and artists. Walter Brown’s use of pastel colors inspired my glaze color choices. Jodie Masterman’s work inspired the shape of my cake stand. Mark Dally’s hand drawn additions to his pieces inspired the design on the top of my stand. And Rachel Foxwell’s vessels inspired me to use contrasting colors between the design on my stand and the color of the cake stand itself. I love to back an often place my creations on a stand. I thought it would be super cool if I could not only say I made the baked goods displayed but also made what they are being displayed on. I also wanted to combine skills of throwing and using slabs, that I have been improving over the whole semester, into one final piece.

To create my piece I threw the base like I was creating a bowl but made it so there wasn’t a bottom and altered the shape to my desired curve. I then slab rolled clay and using a template cut the top of my stand out. I made the slab a little thicker than normal to try to prevent sagging as much as possible. I then very carefully attached the two pieces slipping and scoring. I made sure to smooth everything out and rested the piece on cups to keep it from sagging as well. I used wood tools and rib tools to form my piece. My piece cracked a little while drying so I had to add slip to fill in the cracks as best I could. I low fire glazed the base yellow and the top spring green. After one firing I then used black under glaze and sponged on a design to the top using a template. Once my piece was dry and clear glazed it and fired it one more time. My final piece came out to be about 7 inches wide at the top, 3 inches wide at the base and about 2.5 inches tall. I made sure my hair was back when throwing and to be careful when using sharp tools.

This piece was extremely difficult to create because cracking was inevitable with the short amount of time required for it to dry. Keeping it from sagging while creating it was also difficult. Creating the design on the top was hard because of the limited time and attention to detail required. Overall I am happy with my piece. The green came out darker than I had expected but it covers up the cracks nicely. And the design turned out much better than I thought it would, but it still could have turned out a little better if I had just had more time. Some of the cracking could also have been prevented with more time to dry. This piece took me a little less than a week to create but I wish I would have planned better and started sooner.


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