Textured Pottery Techniques for Beginners


Pottery is the process of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard, durable form. Major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made by a potter is also called a pottery (plural “potteries”). The definition of pottery used by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is “all fired ceramic wares that contain clay when formed, except technical, structural, and refractory products. In archaeology, especially of ancient and prehistoric periods, “pottery” often means vessels only, and figures etc. of the same material are called “terracottas”. Clay as a part of the materials used is required by some definitions of pottery, but this is dubious.

Textured Pottery Art

Textured pottery is something that you may look for or have in your personal pottery collection. Those appealing textures can be created in a variety of ways. You may be interested in knowing how the variety of textures is achieved through the various steps of the creative process.

During the forming process, texture can be applied to the pot once the general shape and rim have been created. Roulette is a technique which creates texture using a gear or similar tool on the surface of the pot while the wheel is turning. Once the process of Roulette is completed the pot can be pushed out and reshaped by using a tool to apply pressure from the inside.

Chattering creates a texture on a completely formed and dryer pot. This method uses a flexible metal tool. The appearance of the final product is determined by the speed of the wheel and the pressure placed on the tool. A slow speed on the wheel increases the spacing between the lines created, the faster the speed of the wheel the closer the marks.

Stamping can be used on both wheel created pots, slabs, and other hand building techniques. Many clay artists will create their personal stamps with found objects, a variety of household items, or may carve them from clay. Different textures can be achieved through the use of rope, a fluting tool, textured rollers, and textured mats.

Appliqué creates a raised texture on the pots. Pieces can be cut individually and attached to partially dried or leather hard greenware to form a pattern. Slip can be applied to the pottery pieces when some drying has occurred creating exciting patterns in a variety of colors as well as a raised texture.

Carving is another technique and requires some skill. The piece should be leather hard for the best results. Swirls, pattern, and pictures can be created depending on the skill and the preference of the artist. Sgraffito is a specialized technique in which slip of one color is used over the pot built from another color of clay. When the piece is carved it shows the color of the clay beneath the slip to create the pattern. Carving can also be used to form a press mold. Once the original pattern is carved it can be transferred to a plaster cast or clay which is then fired creating a mold which can be used again and again.

Texture can be created in the glazing process as well. Specialty glazed can cause crackling and bubbling. Some artists will develop their glazes to create the textured appearance that is unique to their pottery.

The textures that can be created on pottery is only limited by the imagination of the artists. It can be simple or complex but will always contribute to the appeal of the finished piece.

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