Ceramics making is easy! When you know the basics, you can create your own pieces in no time. At first it may seem like an intimidating process, but once you have passed the learning curve, it is the city of masterpieces. Here's all you need to know to get started.
This is very important to do first, because it determines the type of medium with which you will work. Do not exclude clays that need a kiln, if you are serious about this hobby, you can buy a small one for your home. Below are methods and varieties used for each method:
Bake oven, air dry with polymer
They do not require a kiln to be used; either they are air dry or baked in a standard oven. They are best used for small items like jewelry, ornaments, etc. because of the expense. The oven and air-dry look similar to normal. Polymer comes in many bright colors and can be turned into beautiful designs that are like fired plastic.
Standard hand building
The possibilities for handmade ceramics are endless. However, it requires the use of a kiln. The investment needed, however, is very low. Clay itself is cheap. All you need is a rolling pin, newspapers or cloth and other ordinary household items. With a book on the building, most people should be able to start producing pieces by themselves..
Standard throwing wheel.
Again, a kiln is necessary. And once you're an experienced thrower, you'll definitely want a big stove, because you're producing pieces much faster than in the hand building. You can learn to throw videotapes from books or better, and some people do that, but it's hard.
Most people without experience would be frustrated and abandoned by buying a wheel and trying it on their own. If you are patient, however, you can build your throwing skills and never fir anything but recycle and throw again. It is tempting to finish every piece at first, because you are very proud of it, but soon you will hate the look of those early pieces! Even firing them wouldn't be a fine strategy..
Pick your medium.
Now that you know which method you are going to use, you can select your medium. Most need a kiln, but many new brands are going to fire in a kitchen oven. If you only want to play wet, don't worry about firing. A basic rule: wet and dry do not work together properly; just ensure the same consistency.
Choose between high and low fire if you're going to fire your medium. In general, low fire is best for bright colors and detailed decoration. The glazes at that temperature are very stable; the colors remain bright and do not move during firing.
The inconvenience is that the pieces are not completely vitrified; the clay is not completely fused, so you rely on the glaze to make the piece waterproof. This makes them less suitable for food or water supplies.
The glaze is more likely to chip because it has not interacted as in high fire with clay. If the right clay and glaze is used, however, it can be very strong. Earthenware is the clay used for low fire.
Mid to high fire uses clays known as porcelain or stoneware. Bright colors in oxidation kilns or electric kilns can still be obtained and less so in reduction kilns or gas kilns. Pieces are very strong, it is waterproof by itself when fired at temperature and can be used for food and ovenware.
Porcelain can be very thin and keeps strength. Glazes at these temperatures interact with clay bodies that give spectacular, individualized pieces that are interesting to many people. The glaze typically moves a lot or a bit so in-depth designs would blur..
Prepare yourself and the area.
The work can be a bit messy. Cover any area you don't want to see lay a tarp or newspaper on the floor or do your work in the garage or in other non-living areas. Don't wear any clothes you don't want dirty or stained..
Air bubbles can be devastating to a perfect product otherwise piece, so get them out before you start working. Knead or wedge your clay in small quantities and begin with the size of your fist.
Knead it like a loaf of bread, mold it into a ball and slam it against a piece of plaster, which is good for moisture absorption. Do this repeatedly up to the end of the bubbles. If you are not sure, divide the ball with a wire in half and monitor the inside..
Start the wheel..
Throw the clay into the center with some force. Since you're just beginning, just stick to a big handful. Wet your hands with a bowl of water nearby and begin to shape clay.
Start coning the clay mass. Brace between your two palms and tighten up.
Place your elbows are pressed into your inner thighs or on your knees for every step of working with the clay. This helps to stabilize your hands as they work..
Center the clay..
This is a method of spinning without bumps or wobbles until it is perfectly smooth. Once you have the shape of your cone, you're ready.
Push down your tower with one hand and hold it stable with the other. If you're right, push it to the right. The majority of the pressure is from the top.
Start to apply pressure on the sides when the clay is on the bottom of a wider lump. A bit of clay can accumulate on your left hand; it's normal to put it away..
Form your shape..
Each piece bowl can be formed differently. But, regardless of your piece, your movements deliberate and slow, allowing the wheel to repeat about five times before each move is finished. Be sure that all 360 degrees of clay are treated in the same way and that the work is done. Wipe off any sponge-accumulating water.
Clean your piece with a wooden knife when you're done and smooth the surface with a rib.
If you mess up and the clay is twisted, you should probably not just try to make it a blob and start over. The clay does not reset and the next attempt will not cooperate..
Fire your clay at least once..
It can now be glazed after that. Get access to a stove if you don't own it and let the pros take care of the firing. If you have your own kiln then be sure that you know how to fire it properly according to what your piece needs.
Different clays have different reactions to heat. Read the instructions on the clay packaging and conduct some online research. Take into account the size of your piece..
Like every other step, there are many options. Each kind gives you a slightly different appearance.
Liquid glaze: commercial glazes and sub glazes can be purchased in liquid form, which is usually formulated for brushing. Everything you need to apply is a brush. Some glazes are hard to smoothly brush; you'll see brush marks as a result. Others melt sufficiently to erase the brush marks.
Dry glaze: commercial glazes that are usually formulated for dipping, pouring or spraying can be purchased in dry form. In addition to a brush, you need a bucket, some water, something to be stirred and a mask to prevent the dust from breathing. The advantage of dipping is that you get a more even glaze coating, and you can do interesting things that you can't do with a brush, such as double dip, to have different colors on the same part.
Sprinkling is usually done by more advanced people because good ventilation, a gun, a compressor, a booth, etc. are required. Make your own glaze: It's the most advanced glazing form. You buy raw materials and mix them with recipes. You will also need recipes that can be obtained from books and websites.
You also need the right chemicals, a scale, and a sieve so you can experiment. Sometimes your glazes aren't right. You’ll need to learn how to change these glazes to solve any problem you have. They'll be amazing other times. It just takes a lot of practice and patience..
Methods of glazing.
There are a few ways of glazing your artwork. Here is a list of ways in which you can show the true vibrant colors of your artwork:.
Dip it: If you have a whole bunch of glazed pottery, dipping is the fastest way to use it. You just dip it in the glaze and set it aside for about three seconds with the consistency of heavy cream. Certainly the coat will be even..
Pour it: If you want to glaze the inside, simply pour the glaze into the pot, leave it for three seconds and pour the glaze back into the bucket.
Pouring is also a viable method for outdoor coating. A second, thinner layer is often used. Then the two layers interact and produce a colorful glaze with texture, shade and visual depth..
Brushing it: If you purchased your glaze from a ceramic shop then it’s ready to use right a way. It’s likely going to work well with a brush. But if the glaze is too thick, you are going to get brush marks. And this of course is something you do not want unless you are specifically going for a brushed look. To do the work, use a synthetic sand brush.
Use a large brush if you want a even, opaque coat and apply the recommended number of coats plus one coat. Place the piece on a wheel and spin slowly to give it a very even finish while applying the paint..
Sponging it: Dip your pot into a glaze layer that you would like to use in the background to sponge. Then use a natural sea sponge dipped in a different glaze color to achieve the desired pattern. Commercial sponges from a craft supplier can also be used to obtain interesting effects in different forms of your liking. If you have time to mix and match different shapes and colors, experiment with what kind of combined effects are most attractive to you..
Etching it: You're going to need at least two different glazes here, preferably those you've previously tested together to ensure they are pleasant when overlapped. Start by dipping your pot into the two glazes ' lighter and then let it dry. Dip again, in the darker glaze this time. After drying, take a mini-ribbon tool and carve a pattern in the top layer of the glaze, exposing the lighter glaze below.
Depending on how careful you are in designing, you can achieve very complex patterns. Once fired, the sculpted patterns appear in the first glaze color applied, surrounded by the combined layered glaze color "background.".
Stamping it: Get some florist foam from your local craft supplier to keep professional floral arrangements in place. Draw a pattern or design on the foam's surface. Split the design with your mini-ribbon tool, then dip the block into a slip or glaze and use it as a stamp to decorate large, flat shapes that have already been plunged into a contrasting glaze and dry.
Wax it: Dunk your entire pot into a light glaze; paint on a wash pattern like cobalt oxide (blue) or iron oxide (brown); paint the wax carefully over the wash pattern you have just painted. Dunk the pot in a second color when the wax is dry. If you cross the line and wax on top of the white, you have three glazes (white, cobalt and last). Extra detail can be obtained through carving the second glaze..
Tape it: use thin masking tape instead of wax to achieve your resistant pattern for crisp, fine lines with sharp edges and angles. This is done by glazing the whole pot, letting the masking tape dry and applying it to the pattern you want. Take the pot, let it dry again and remove the masking tape to expose the glaze below.
Pay attention to glazed bottle firing temperatures to get the firing right for the type of glaze you are using.