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Lesson Plans


Slab Work in Ceramics (long post)

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JudaOrlandi, Marilyn (Marilyn.JudaOrlandi)
Fri, 08 Nov 1996 09:05:00 +0000 (GMT)

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Hi Sharon,

Just a few quickie suggestions for Slab Ceramics which are very easy and can
be made quickly:

1. Slab vases or pots....take a bottle or a cardboard tube and cover it
with a piece of newspaper, then roll the slab around it with bottom of the
clay slab even with the bottom of the bottle or cardboard tube. The slab
should overlap down the front and be rounded off across the top . Join the
clay at the overlap by scoring and slipping, or by making a butt joint. You
can then stand it up and shape the top to flute it like the opening of a
flower. Place the whole thing on top of another slab, cut the bottom out
slightly wider than the circumference and join the bottom to the vase....you
can slip the bottle out easily because it has the paper liner....finish off
the inside by joining the bottom on the inside with a coil....Decorations
can be done afterwards when it has hardened some..

2. Variation on the above:
- Roll your slab out on interesting textured material, like burlap or
heavy woven fabric...use the textured side for the outside of the pot or
object you are making.
- When you roll out the slab, put interesting things between the slab and
a piece of material which covers it while you are rolling.....some fun ones
are rubber bands of all sizes, also unraveled yarn from a
sweater....(Unraveled because it makes such nice patterns that way), string,
leaves, grasses, you can have a lot of fun finding different things that
will leave a "sign"or mark on the clay. (Can't make too deep an impression
otherwise the clay will split when you bend it) Use that for the outside of
the pot in 1. above. Then when it is dry rub it with oxides then sponge off
the excess color, the darker color will remain in the pattern and it can
seem like fossils if you have used grasses or plants or leaves...etc...or
rub in oxide colors after the first firing and clear glaze it.
- tie string or cord around your roller and lightly roll over the slab to
create patterns....then use the slab as above.

3. Use the same technique as 1. to make an "overcoat" container....these
are smaller and can be used for pencil holders or whatever....Take a
smaller bottle or cardboard tube, again covered with paper so the clay won't
stick... make a slab about 14 inches high...this needs to be medium and not
too stiff.....make a paper pattern which will include the collar of the
overcoat with the lapels.....cut out the slab and wrap it around the
cardboard tube or bottle and overlap the front to make a double-breasted
overcoat. The top remains open so that it is a container .....The back of
the collar remains slightly standing up, and you fold down the lapels etc.
Then you can finish it off by putting the bottom on as above....put four
buttons on the front of the coat.....(or you can take real buttons and press
them in the clay to leave the impressions) add a pocket and put a
handkerchief sticking out......use your imagination....put "stitching"
around the collar etc....a flower in the lapel.....whatever.

3. Another slab project is free-form slab "bowls" Make cloth bags filled
with sand, or vermiculite.....a free form slab can be placed over the bag
and shaped as you wish and left that way to dry.....you can add a bottom to
your "dish" with a coil attached in a circle, then when the dish is dry it
can be turned over and it will rest on the coil bottom.....if you make the
form a closed one, after it is dry you can make a hole in the form, open
the bag and pour the sand or vermiculite out.....You can get some
interesting soft forms this way....

4. Make free form "dish" in a hammock made of cotton material.........let
it dry in the hammock.

5. Use slabs to cut out interesting shapes....could be leaf shape or an
abstract shape or whatever....then use an empty container or plastic bowl
lined with cloth to put them together by pressing them inside and joining
them with slip.

6. Cut strips from your slabs and use them to "weave".

7. Cut odd forms from slabs and bend and turn them and stick them together
to make unidentified objects.....great fun...

8. Roll out the slab between two pieces of material (It is easier to
handle that way) then wrinkle up the top piece of material, swirl it or
pleat it....and then roll over it again.....you get some very interesting
patterns that way...then go on to use the slab in any of the above....or
else color with engobe to make an abstract image....cut out the edges in a
free form then when it is fired mount it on a stained piece of wood slightly
larger than the tile to make a frame, put a hook on it to make it a wall
hanging....

9. Take a thick slab and hit it with various tools and edges of 2x4 wood
pieces anything you can think of.....(this is great for letting off steam if
you are angry about something!!!) Work on it until you get an interesting
pattern/design....when it is dry paint the pattern you have created with
engobe....mount on stained piece of wood to frame after firing....makes very
interesting bas-relief abstracts......

Suggestion: See the book HANDBUILDING CERAMIC FORMS by Elsbeth S. Woody,
John Murry Publishers, London, ISBN 0 7195 36537, which is
excellent....over 300 photographs....If you have difficulty getting the book
in Hong Kong...you might try ordering it from a book service in the UK by
E-Mail at 101376.3074 This is the Fourth Beach Book
Company.....Write to Anne Lovely ....She is very helpful in finding any book
published in the US or UK or even out of print books on the used
market.....She mails to me in Italy so I imagine she would mail to you in
Hong Kong....

Have fun...
Ciao,\
Marilyn Juda-Orlandi


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