Monthly Archives: February 2008

Surface Decoration Techniques: faceting with a wire.

Faceting the walls of pots is a great way to change the surface of a piece. The facets can be highlighted with atmospheric firings and glazes that break on high points. There are many ways to facet a pot – wet or leather hard, with a wire or a special faceting tool, with a straight wire or a curly wire. Each choice will give you a different final look. I do have a personal preference for faceting while wet. If you facet right on the wheel after your piece is thrown, you can still alter the shape while pushing out from the inside of the piece and you can “re-throw” the lip which is great for a drinking vessel! And if you happen to go through the wall of your pot, you can still re-wedge the clay and try again. 

Below are images of a sample cup of wire faceting techniques:

 

top left: a curly wire that I made that you can see in a previous blog post.
top right: a Bill Van Gilder Wiggle Wire.
bottom left: a Mud Tool straight wire tool.
bottom right: a Mud Tool curly wire

And below you can see the finished result of the sampler cup:
clay body: Lillstreet Soda Clay
firing: soda fired, c. 10 reduction
slip: top half dipped in Bob Briscoe’s Slip for all Occasions
glaze: rutile blue
This is part of my “Surface Decoration Technique” series.
I have been creating, soda firing and documenting simple straight sided cylinders with a variety of surface treatments for examples for my classes and this blog. The original idea was to create demos to show students that aren’t specifically “my pieces.” The fun result of this project has been that it’s given me an excuse to return to things long forgotten and to try some new techniques.
Watch out for upcoming tutorials with lots of pictures and slip and glaze recipes. 

How to: make a cut off wire

I have some issues with the standard cut off wire. They can break and it usually isn’t easy to replace the wire. Sometimes you need a longer wire to cut off a big platter. And sometimes you want something different from you wire – either a thinner wire or maybe something that will add texture.

To make a cut off “wire” that fits your needs, this is what you need to get started:

  • A pair of corks. I prefer the rubber wine corks.
  • A drill with a small drill bit.
  • A wire of some sort: fishing line, thin wire, a stretched out spring.**
Drill a hole into the center of your cork.    

Thread your cord, wire or spring through the cork. If you’re using fishing line, thread it through multiple times and tie a couple of knots. If you’re using beading wire, use a crimp bead. If you’re using a spring or other single ply wire, twist the wire after you thread it through the cork.


An added bonus: they float!
Next blog post will have some images of the wires in action.

**Some ideas for “wires:”
  • Fishing line of whatever thickness you prefer. You can find it as hardware stores, Target, craft stores, sporting good stores, etc…
  • If you prefer to have an actual wire, beading wire is perfect! There are a bunch of different brands out there. Look for multi-strand braided wire. You can find it at craft stores and anywhere they sell beads. Or you can find it here.
  • To make a wavy texture wire, you need to find a spring that is made from a thin gauge wire that will be easy to stretch out. I have found the BEST springs at one of my favorite stores – American Science Surplus in Chicago (and they only cost 20 cents!). Unfortunately, they don’t sell the exact wire online, but you can get a package of assorted springs from them here, and I’m pretty sure that you can find something that’ll work in the package.

Check out some more of my “How to” posts. If you have any suggestions for future tutorials, send me an email or add a comment!

Ask a Potter: Photography

I regularly get questions emailed to me about clay, kilns, the business of clay, etc… I have decided to start a series “Ask a Potter” where I answer some of these questions on PotteryBlog.com that I think will be interesting and helpful to other readers. Please feel free to share your 2 cents and join in on the dialog!
———————–

Who takes your photos? What kind of camera do you use?
-Diane in Georgia

My “professional” images are taken by Guy Nicol in Chicago.
His studio is also at Lillstreet Studios. If you’re not in the Chicago area, don’t let that stop you, you can ship your work to him.
I have been using Guy for my photos for the last 7 years, and his work is amazing. He specializes in studio arts such as ceramics, jewelry, fibers, etc… I’ve used the images he taken to apply to shows as well as promotional materials (postcards, business cards, etc…). Some of Guy’s images of my work published in exhibition catalogs, 500 Cups (2 images), 500 Pitchers (2 images) and Ceramics Monthly. 

Some examples of photos that Guy has taken for me recently:

 

I do take lots of photos myself that are posted on this blog. I got a new digital camera early last fall, the Canon PowerShot A570 and I’ve been really happy with it. 

I would say the photos that I take myself fall into 3 categories – personal, studio shots/ works in progress, and images for online selling. I’ve been dabbling in online selling for a while trying to figure out what outlet I think is best. I’m finally ready to jump into the Etsy pool (more on that to come!) and easy, high quality photos are a necessity.

Below are some photos that I have taken with my digital camera: