CERAMICS AND POTTERY
TECHNIQUES OF PRODUCTION
By Frank Atuhairwe
Bisque ware= A fired/ baked piece
green ware = an unfired piece
CERAMICS AND POTTERY
• Ceramics is the Art of making and decorating
earthen or other functional and decorative wares
by using clay, glass, porcelain, plastic as the raw
• The most common and available material in the
school situation is clay. Therefore to make any
ceramics, one has to first understand clay, its
properties or characteristics, clay preparation.
• The latter stage will be to learn the techniques of
building ceramic wares and finally the decoration
• It’s a heavy earth or type of soil commonly
found in marshland and is elastic when
wet and hard when fired/ baked and is
used to produce items like wall bricks,
tiles, pots and kitchen wares
PROPERTIES OF CLAY
• 1. Plasticity:
This is the ability of clay to hold any
shape to which it is molded without
• 2. porosity:
The ability of clay to hold water
• 3. Shrinkage:
The ability or quality of reducing in size
especially when drying up.
• 4. Vitrification
This is the quality of being converted to a
glassy (vitreous) state during firing to
Become very hard.
Clay preparation involves several steps as
1. Mining clay from its source like swamps with
all impurities and or foreign bodies
like rock, roots, metal, e.t.c.
2. Slaking; involves soaking in water, to break
down the large boulders to create a viscouse
clay called Slip.
3. Sieving; clay slip is sieved to become very fine
and eliminate gritt.
4. Mixing; the slip is mixed by stiring as grogg
(fired clay powder) and kept for 4days to
5. Drying; Spread the slip on clean flat area like
floor to lose excess water content/ moisture to
a leather-hard state( less sticky).
6. Kneading; to cause uniformity of the clay and
to eliminate any air bubbles and small stones.
7. Wedging; to check the uniformity of the
leather-hard clay by cutting through it with
8.Storage; in polythene bags, airtight
containers like buckets or protected pits to
9. Usage; the clay is ready for making
TECHNIQUES OF BUILDING
• PINCHING AND PULLING
A ball of clay is opened by the hand thumbs as
the fingers pull up the walls gently to the required
height and shape.
ropes/strings of clay
rolled or made
and placed onto
joining takes place
on both the interior
and exterior or only
• SLAB METHOD
a lump of clay is rolled
into a wide sheet of
about 1cm or more
measured slabs are
cut out and joined
together to a required
style and shape of a
A lump of clay is made into a very
admirable shape or design, which is
dissected into two halves then clay
scooped out with a tool like a spoon from
the halves leaving a uniform thickness of
the walls. The two open halves are then
joined together by scorring to form a
beautiful ceramic ware.
This is the making of ceramics wares by use of
a potters wheel.
The wheel can be manual or electric.
Steps in throwing
• A mold is an already made, manufactured,
or constructed ware that is used in
creation of other items by using its shape.
• A piece of work is made by building and
pressing clay against the mold to
reproduce its very shape. It is closely
related to casting but the latter happens
with hot material and the former with cold.
• A metal cup or dish can be a muold
1. COIL DÉCOR : this happens when small
size coils are systematically or randomly
pasted on the finished vase.
2. SPRIGGING: small pieces of clay are
designed from the clay and also pasted
on the leather hard vase
INCISION: The use of
very sharp tools like a
knife gouges to cut
out some clay from the
4. GLAZING: the
application of a
suspension on a pot
then later fired to
1. SPRIGGING: small
pieces of clay are
designed from the
clay and also
pasted on the
leather hard vase
5. SLIP TRAILING: coloured
slip is oozed onto the
surface of a pot by use of
gargets like syringes while
Impressed/ stamped decor
A designed pattern on
small tools like wood,
rubber, linoleum, metal, e
t c in pressed onto a
leather- hard ware leaving
This involves polishing the ceramics ware
until it is very smooth and shiny.
• Is the process of heating or baking green
ware ceramics to very high temperatures
for the to attain bisque state. The bisque
ware turns to brick red color.
Meanwhile, glazed work turns glassy and
• Firing is done in several ways; in the open,
closed firing in electric,firewood and oil
Ceramics/ pottery can be very interesting
especially when one develops the best attitude
without looking at the dirty side of soil –the clay.
It is so interesting that; some individuals snare at
pottery in its raw state but are the best choosers
of what they would like, actually WANT to take
as a gift from the potter.
Enjoy clay like God enjoyed the creation of Man.
By frank Atuhairwe