2. Rules in the Clay Studio
1. Clay and glazes contain silica, which is not good for you.
Work carefully to avoid disturbing dust.
2. Clay must be kept moist while you are working on a project.
You are solely responsible for keeping your clay projects
covered with plastic.
3. Clay clogs the drain! When you are done working for the
day, you must clean your tools and your hands in rinse
4. You must also wipe your tables with a damp rag. This
minimizes dust, and leaves the studio clean for other artists.
3. The Tools
1) Clay – basically dirt & water
2) Kiln – a device used to cook all moisture out of clay; there are many
types, but we will use an electric kiln. Clay must be fired (heated in a kiln)
in order to become permanently formed.
3) Modelling tool – anything that helps to shape clay (a spoon, a
smooth stone); we have specially designed wood modelling tools.
4) Ribs – metal or wood; can be smooth or serrated (toothed); serrated
ribs are good for scoring.
4. The Tools
5) Ribbons – metal loops that function as carving tools; come in various
shapes & sizes.
6) Pin tool – a metal pin or a toothpick; useful for putting ventilation
holes in a piece
7) Glaze – silica-based colourant; glazes must also be fired in a kiln to
become permanent; makes pottery food safe.
5. Clay Stages
1) Greenware – clay that has not been fired
2) Slip – watery clay (like milk); used as glue when joining piece of clay.
3) Leather-hard – clay that has partially dried; it holds up its own form,
but can still be manipulated.
4) Bone dry – clay that cannot lose anymore moisture without being
fired; it looks off-white. Clay must always be bone dry before firing, or it
5) Bisque ware – clay that has been fired but not glazed; it is white.
6) Glaze ware – clay that has been glazed
6. Important Processes
1) Wedging – also called kneading; pushing & pulling the clay to get it to
a homogenous state (even moisture, no air bubbles).
2) Scoring – creating rough texture where two pieces of clay will be
joined; slip must be applied to the scored area before welding the clay.
3) Welding – blending two pieces of clay together, after scoring &
7. Crucial Things to Remember!
● Maintain even thickness (0.5 in / 1cm) to avoid
● Dry evenly (cover work in plastic)
● Eliminate air bubbles and contained air (or
your piece will explode in the kiln).
8. Clay Vessels
You will make one simple clay vessel, using one of the
techniques you just saw.
Your vessel must be at least 5 inches in one dimension.
Once you have shaped your vessel, you will decorate the
surface using a textured motif.
A motif is a design that is repeated in an artwork.
Examples – hand, foot, eye, lips, various types of line,
geometric or organic shapes
9. Drawing the Human Figure
10. Drawing the Human Figure
● The body can be divided
into 3 equal parts:
● The torso,
● The hips & thighs, and
● The calves & feet
● The adult figure is 8
● It is also 2 – 3 heads
11. Drawing the Human Figure
● You will create 5 gesture
drawings of the human figure
(skeleton + basic shapes).
● Your drawings must clearly
show the main joints on the
shoulders, elbows, wrists,
hips, knees, ankles
●You must draw the entire figure (not just the hips up, etc.)
●The goal is to capture the correct proportions.
●Try different poses.
12. Figurative Sculpture
● You will make a figure out
● Now that you've
practised drawing the
figure, you will complete
a more detailed drawing
to plan out your
● Hint: standing figures
are very hard to do in
13. Figurative Sculpture
Your sculpture must be at least as big as your
You will build the figure solid, and hollow it
You must incorporate at least 2 different
textures on your sculpture.
It does not have to be perfectly realistic.
Glaze is a clay-based colourant.
Glazes must be fired in a kiln to become
Important things to remember:
1. Glaze makes clay food safe.
2. Glazes change their appearance after
3. Glaze fuses to anything it touches in the kiln. Keep the
bottom of your work clean up to 0.5 inch/ 1cm from the
4. Mix the glaze before applying it. Apply 2 even coats of
16. Glazing Techniques
1) Dipping – immersing the entire clay piece into glaze; after dipping
you MUST remove all glaze from the bottom with a wet rag.
2) Pouring – pouring glaze onto your clay piece; again you MUST
remove all glaze from the bottom with a wet rag.
3) Brushing – painting the glaze onto the clay piece using paint
brushes; since glaze is a thick, sandy material, it is crucial that you clean
your brushes with soap so that no glaze is left in the bristles.
4) Overlapping – mixing glazes in a separate container or on the clay
piece can provide very interesting results.
17. Glazing Techniques
5) Masking – glaze will not stick to areas of the clay that have been
covered with masking tape; you can use tape to create patterns on your
work and then remove the tape before firing.
6) Sgraffito – scratching through a layer of glaze to create patterns of
7) Mishima – putting glaze in carved designs, and wiping away the
excess. The glaze only stays in the carved areas.
18. Figurative Sculpture:
1. Explain how you decided on your design.
2. Describe the strong qualities of your sculpture.
3. Describe the places you think you could improve. How
could you improve them?
4. Create a chart that outlines the positive and negative
aspects of working in clay.