Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Makings of a Soy Sauce Vessel- Day 2- Trimming and Attaching

Before I start to trim the lids I throw a pad to help them stay in place without distorting. I wedge and center the clay before cutting out a line to allow my finger up and under the lid to remove it. I then trim the top of lid following the contours of the inside. After scratching the surface of the tip I apply a bit of slip and then firmly push on a small ball of clay. This ball is then centered and raised to the desired shape of the knob.

Here are the three lids finshed. I bore a hole under the knob to prevent explosion during firing.

Next I cut the spout at a 30 degree angle and punch holes in the marked place on the vessel to allow the soy sauce to flow. The spout and the vessel are both etched and covered with slip before I firmly press the spout into place. Using my fingertips I smooth the clay to make it look like one piece.

Next I pull each handle by hand.
The handles are attached with etching and slip. I used a bit of paper towel to hold some of the weight from the top handle until the clay has time to harden.
All of the pieces are put into my damp cabinet to give the clay time to rest and catch-up with itself. They will sit here for a day or two before being moved to my greenware shelf. There they will stay for a week or two until they are bone dry.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Makings of a Soy Sauce Vessel- Day 1- Throwing

I have had many people ask me how I make a piece. That is hard to explain in words so I am thrilled to be able to do it in pictures. I am currently working on a custom order for a soy sauce vessel. This isn't something I have attempted before so I am pretty much making it up as I go. I am going to update my blog in real time as I move this piece through the many stages over the next few weeks. At the end you will be here with me to see the success or the total flop!

Sometimes I begin with a drawing, others with a mental picture. Once I know where I am headed I weigh out the clay. For this piece I am using cone 5 porcelain. The next step is to wedge the clay to get out any air bubbles.

Next I slap the ball down on a bat centered on the wheel head. I then cone the clay and press it back down urging the clay into the center.

Now that the clay is centered I begin to open it up by pressing with one finger through the middle. I stop about 1/4 inch from the bottom and pull towards myself. After that I am ready to begin pulling the piece upwards by starting at the bottom and applying even pressure from my inner and outer hands. This causes the clay to lift up from the bat.

Now I am ready to begin shaping the piece. As I glide up the wall I am applying pressure from my inner hand to belly out the bottom half. At the neck I am doing the reverse. This is going to be a lidded piece so I create a beveled rim to give the lid somewhere to sit.

I made three pieces in the same way so that I could experiment with different shapes for this project. It also gives me room for error as there are so many places in the process that a piece can be destroyed. These pieces then go on my drying rack where they will sit until they are leather hard.

Now I have to throw the lids and spouts. Rather than centering all of these little balls of clay I am choosing to throw off the hump. I center one large ball of clay and then doorknob off the top for each piece. The lids are thrown upside down. At this stage they look like a shallow bowl or plate. I use the calipers to measure inside the rim of my soy sauce vessel to be sure the lid will fit.

The spout is thrown and then cut off with a wire. I throw many different shapes and sizes. Until the clay is leather hard I really can't hold it up to the vessel to see what makes a good fit so I like to give myself choices for later.

I threw some spouts in a traditional fashion and some with wonky swirls for options.

Now I have to let everything sit overnight to harden before I can start to assemble!

Monday, November 1, 2010


You can also view other work on my etsy page!:

Welcome to Engel Pottery!

All of my work is done by hand in my home studio. Each piece is one-of-a kind. All of my functional pieces are food, microwave, oven and dishwasher safe unless marked otherwise. I have separated my work into mini-blogs by category. Click through the links below to view my work. Due to the cold weather I have been unable to throw for a few weeks. I am hoping to get back at the wheel next weekend and hope to have new work listed by mid February.

Bowls with and without handles

Casserole Dishes, Pie Plates and More




Orders can be placed by e-mailing me at Payment is accepted through check or Pay Pal. Sales tax is 6%. Shipping and handling: $12.50 on orders up to $30.00, $19.50 on orders $30.00- $50.00. Pieces are professionally packaged and shipping is guaranteed. If for some reason there is damage in shipping, piece will be replaced or refunded at your choice. Gift-wrap is available for $4.00. I can include a gift message at no cost.

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