Tips: Pinching clay
Pinching clay is one of the underestimated techniques among potters. Many believe that pinching is just for beginners, but if you master pinching skills, then you can use this even when you are working on the potters wheel.
There are challenges with pinching and sometimes a pinch pot gets completely out of control. This video shows an easy way of how to do in-pinching to get the pinch pot back under your control.
With pinching, you can develop "eyeballs on your fingers", as Antoinette always tells her students. Clay pinching skills will help you to judge the thickness of a wall or a bottom on a pot - helping you with trimming.
Antoinette Badenhorst presents an online workshop where she teaches potters how to pinch a complete functional teapot with clay (Pinching teapots for Beginners).
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Mark Goudy was named the Emerging Artist in Ceramics Monthly magazine of May 2010. He completed two online classes at TeachinArt, Porcelain handbuilding with Antoinette Badenhorst, and Colored Clay with Curtis Benzle.
His work was selected for collections in
My formal education lies mostly in science and engineering: a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Oregon, and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from California State University in San Jose. I did take various art classes along the way, but it wasn't until much later in life that I even thought about pursuing a career in ceramics. My interest in music and my hobby of building electronic music synthesizers propelled me into the study of electrical engineering in my late 20s. I ended up working for twenty years as a logic design engineer in the computer graphics industry (including Pixar, Silicon Graphics, nVidia.)
After my mother passed away in 2004, my wife Liza had the idea for us to take a raku class at a local Bay Area adult school, an homage to my mother's creative spirit. Following a twenty-year career working as an engineer in the virtual world of computer chip design, I found the process of clay work to be a cathartic experience - resonating at some deep unconscious level.
The physical nature of handbuilding unique pieces from this plastic medium was immediately satisfying. Soon I was applying my analytical and problem-solving skills to the multivariate issues that surfaced in the clay studio, and exercising my right brain to construct forms in a totally intuitive way.
My approach to ceramics stems from the intersection of my love of the geometries of nature and abstract minimalist art. My mission as an artist is first to create a coherent visual language, and then learn to speak in that language. For me, certain forms evoke a sense of quiet stillness and mystery, and exist in a dimension apart from language. I don't fully understand it.
My current process is to handbuild ceramic forms, joining sections of curved parabolic surfaces that I create using purpose-built plaster hump molds. After a series of scraping, paddling, and shaping transformations, the models are bisque fired and used to make multipart plaster molds. The final works are slipcast, using various clay bodies that I have created.
I see slipcasting as a way to translate one clay body, which is optimized for building, into another clay body with different properties - of lightness or translucency for instance.
Sometimes I burnish earthenware forms to impart a smooth surface with a subtle grain pattern. For other works, there is a lot of wet-sanding to refine and even out the surface. I use no glazes in my work. Instead I have developed techniques for adding color and pattern through the use of metal salts, following the lead of renowned Norwegian ceramic artist Arne Åse. These compounds are the water-soluble form of the same metals used to color traditional ceramic glazes. After painting on, they soak into the bisque-fired clay, interact with each other, and become a permanent part of the surface after firing. All my work so far is low-fired, at cone 01 or below.
Many thanks to Antoinette Badenhorst and her e-course on Porcelain handbuilding to help me understand the unique qualities of this beautiful material.
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Neriage with Curt Benzle
Neriage (neriagi), also known as agateware, is a Japanese word that describes the process of blending two, three or four colors of clay in a random fashion. The color range can be very complex or completely random. The clay is not glazed and gives an organic, marble look when fired.
Curtis Benzle is a professional artist and teacher with more than 40 years experience in ceramics. His fine translucent porcelain work is included in many private and public collections. Curt presents the colored clay e-course at TeachinArt.
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TeachinArt is an online art school with professional artists as instructors who educate, enridge and promote art.