What is pottery for molding dishes?
Ceramic is a fired clay. And it is the main material of the master. The analogue can be called a polymer clay, the origin of which is not associated with natural factors. Natural origin clay is mined in quarries and can have undesirable impurities for ceramics, such as stones or soil. Sold in specialized stores, the clay is already prepared, which will not crack during the firing process. But there are nuances, and they concern the types of clay.
In pottery is not used the so-called blue clay. It is in demand by cosmetologists and adepts of traditional medicine. And for ceramists there are these types of clay:
- porcelain – the gray raw material after firing acquires a white hue;
- Black – actually dark brown, but after exposure to temperature it becomes milky;
- red – brownish-greenish hue of the raw material turns to red due to the presence of iron oxide;
- white – the grayish tint turns into the color of ivory after processing in the oven.
Black is considered difficult for beginners because it is hard. Red is ideal for large sculptures because of its strength and malleability. But many masters consider white to be the most successful for beginners because of its prevalence and, consequently, its low cost compared to other types of clay.
Classification according to the temperature mode of the processed products (light, medium and refractory) is also appropriate to consider, because the dishes with their own hands without firing will not withstand the oven, microwave or freezer.
Finished clay in the store should be labeled by fraction. The differences are in both the filling and the texture. Commercially available masses have specific additives that facilitate the work and improve the quality of the product as a result.
Tools for work
The indispensable tools and materials of masters are:
- schlicker (connecting) mass for the parts of the product;
- enamel (after firing is applied);
- string (for cutting the product from the potter’s wheel);
- tourniquet, needles, awl, rolling pin, pottery scallops, stacks, etc.
Heat-resistant pottery with their own hands is made by several methods: molding, churning, casting, pottery. In the latter case, the presence of a potter’s wheel will be required. It can be:
- both children’s and professional;
- with foot, hand, electric control;
- collector, asynchronous or brushless type motor.
Ovens of choice:
- electric, gas or wood-fired;
- Horizontal, vertical or bell-type furnaces;
- Muffle and chamber arrangement of the heating element.
Homemade stoves are made with refractory bricks in a metal shell.
Consider the master class of making utensils with their own hands. Molding is the most popular type of creating ceramic masterpieces. It is varied and type:
- manual from a single piece of raw material;
- tape-and-braid technique;
- molded tempering;
- casting with plaster molds;
- pulling on a potter’s wheel.
Having decided on the type, prepare the material itself by dissolving it in a large quantity of water. The solution is left in an enamel basin for a while, then it is kneaded and foreign impurities or voids are removed by kneading to an elastic and homogeneous texture.
Techniques for molding are:
- rolling into a ball;
- cutting with a stack;
- pulling – sharpening manipulations.
Instead of a potter’s wheel, you can try to create a plate on a wide sheet of paper. To do this, form a ball and press in the center. Use a spatula to correct the edges, gently moving the sheet of paper to maintain symmetry. It remains only with wet hands smooth the product, dry (for a day, leave it), and decorate.
Decorating is done by painting, glazing, inlaying, embossing, printing, silk-screening, creating reliefs and openwork elements. But most importantly – bake. The last step is very important – the product is placed before firing the oven, not removed from it until the unit cools completely. Dishes without firing will not last long. It is necessary to maintain the temperature regime provided for this type of clay.
Ceramic utensils with their own hands may not be satisfied with color. Give the product whitish shade will help milking – treatment in milk, after which the expected firing at lower temperatures.
A potter’s wheel is used for molding a round object. For the beginner, it is not necessary to buy such equipment.
The circle comes with manual, foot, and electric controls.
Electric ones are considered the most convenient and practical. It is them that ceramists usually buy. An interesting fact: the work on the electric wheel can be mastered in a few hours. Tool with manual control lends itself to the master only after months of training.
Pottery wheel differs by type of motor:
- The collector is the easiest and most popular in compact models. It gently shifts the speed of rotation and runs quietly.
- Asynchronous – rotates in both directions, less noise. Such a device requires a certain skill to adjust the speed.
- Brushless DC motor is designed for professional work. It is reliable, it makes a quiet sound when working.
Making dishes with the help of a potter’s wheel.
Not bad initial experience can be obtained on the children’s model of the wheel. Starting to work, the main thing is to understand how to set your hands correctly and feel confidence, to work through the main technical points.
The warm-up is popular with novice masters. The technique is easy to understand and is illustrated in detail in training manuals. The plaster mold for the warm-up is not chosen by chance. Plaster is able to absorb excess moisture, and the product hardens well.
Casting differs from tempering in the forms used. In this case, the product is made with a thin, elegant wall. The strength of the piece increases only after firing.
Materials and tools
In special stores for craftsmen, there is an assortment of materials and tools for working with clay. For the beginner craftsman, it is better to look at the simpler and inexpensive ones, and as you practice, update the inventory to meet new requirements.
The main tool of a ceramist is his hands. However, you cannot do without special items:
- Potter’s wheel – the main tool for making round products, utensils;
- string – necessary for cutting the finished work from the potter’s wheel;
- tourniquet – a rotating metal stand, necessary for stripping, leveling the shape and painting the finished work;
- needles or awls, rolling pins, pottery combs, and stacks – tools for modeling and texturing an object.
Most often the material for work is bought in a specialized store. Of course, you can get the raw material yourself in the ravine or quarry, but this is not possible for everyone, and the clay may be unsuitable for modeling. It should be plastic, without impurities, prepared to work with your hands or on a potter’s wheel. As mentioned above, any extra impurity in the material can ruin the entire work: the product will either crack in the oven or become an unexpected color.
How to prepare the clay
To prepare the clay for work, you should dissolve it in a large amount of water. It is more convenient to do this in an enameled basin. The solution is left to infuse for some time, then stirred and the process of kneading begins. Foreign bodies, as well as voids that appeared can be removed from the material by kneading. Working clay dough should be elastic and homogeneous.