Fired Pots


This is the result of my first terra sigillata application. I am quite happy with the colours used but think this can still be improved upon. The colours did come out to show the subtle undertones of pinks that is often seen in flesh but the application and surface quality is not reaching the standard I would like it too. I had chosen to work with grogged white clay as this would be very suitable for a primitive firing method which I was going to previously use but this left little imperfections on the vessels surface and as I was no longer practicing those firings I have decide to use a different clay body, one that has a whiter colouration but a low firing range as terra sigillata can not be fired over cone 4. This is why I am going to change the clay body to LF earthenware.


Making Terra Sigillata

To create the terra sigillata I used the recipe on the wall in the glaze room and set out the method as such:

Step 1:

Measure out 3000 ml of cold water and place it into a large lided container. (Preferably Clear).


Step 2:

Measure out 7g of sodium hexametaphosphate and then add it to the water (this will break down the clay particles to leave you with a fine slip). Mix in.


Step 3:

Weigh out 1500g of AK Blue clay powder (you can substitute this for any clay desired) then slowly pour this into the water solution. I added it 500g at a time to allow it to settle in. Mix and allow to settle for 48hrs minimum.


Step 4:

After allowing the mixture to settle, there will be a clear distinction between the layers of slip settled within the container. A bottom layer of waste, the middle layer is the desired terra sigillata and the top layer should just be water. It is important to only use the middle layer. To get this layer just use a syphoning pipe to syphon it into another separate clear container. A jar would be useful for this.


Step 5:

After the syphoning dispose of the remaining waste. The terra sigillata syphoned off is now ready to be applied to the pot. This is a very thin slip so it is better off to be apply a thin layer to bone dry clay to avoid dripping. Can be applied with a glaze brush a spray gun. I shall be using the spray booth.

White and Pink

My initial idea for the surface of my pots was to saggar fire them with a primitive firing process but every attempt I tried ended in failure or just not quite what I was hoping for. I still want the skin like essence but Ive decided to use a method that has a much more precise and clear finish.

To do this I decided to use a terra sigillata and use stains. This would still give me that soft satin like skin texture that I desire just without the unnecessary hassle with a more concise result. This time I am going to try white and pink with a gradient. To achieve this I am going to use the spray booth to ensure an even coverage and this will also allow me to get that desired colour gradient.

New Bases

So I wanted to try something different to create the desired look for my base pieces. As the first was not at all so I decided to take the building method down a different rout. I wanted to create pieces that were more organic and flowing, pieces that brought on a sense of movement and also an essence of female energy. I was looking for a way to exaggerate the soft curves of a feminine form to these bases but also needed them to be hollow so that they could survive the firing and this was the problem with my first base cause it was too large to hold such a rounded form without collapsing in on itself. This is how I came up with the idea to build on top of a mould so I then had to find the perfect shape to mould from.

I tried out an idea to fill large balloons up with plaster and allowed it to set within the balloon to see what happens. This method worked quite well so I tried it again but this time I manipulated the balloon into different shapes and allowed the plaster to set again. This method really worked well to create a form with the desired soft curves and flowing movements so I tried yet again but this time I brought down the vessels I had previously made and pressed them into the mould as the plaster was setting. I now had the forms that I desired and was much more pleased with my results.

Once I had the desired shape from my moulds I allowed them to dry for a couple of days and once they had I was able to press mould my black clay onto them to start to form the bases.



The image above shows how I cut around the centre width of the clay so that it can be removed from the mould.

Making the Base

My idea for the bases is to support the rounded based vessels. This also supports the idea of intimacy. It embodies a relationship between different personalities supporting each other as they react in conversation. As I have chosen to use soft muted pinks and white for my vessels I wanted to use a clay that works well in contrast to the vessels in an opposing manor. I decide to work with my textured black clay for this as I have worked with it before and I know its very easy to sculpt and manipulate.


This is the first attempt of just free handily sculpting the black clay in slabs, being conscious of the fact that there needed to be a resting place for the rounded vessels. I really was not happy with this result as I found it very ‘stiff’ I wanted to create a piece that was just as alive and conscious as the vessels but I do not thing this method of building can achieve that.

Artist Statement; First draft

My work displays ambiguous forms that express the human figure, mimicking the subtle movements gestured between bodies capturing connections within intimate moments. These movements displayed by the sensual ceramic forms combined with the composition of the ceramic bodies echo a conversation between the works as being masculine and feminine forms.


The form my vessels are taking on look upon the bare figure taking the areas, which are usually hidden. With the information I have gathered through sketching I have been drawn to make interpretations of the figurative form that gesture towards the sense of movement and I created this in white-bodied vessels as the masculine forms in contrast to a grogged black bodied feminine form. I have got this result through coiling which allows sensitivity towards creating the specific shape desired. A terra sigilata was applied through spraying onto the surface of the vessels that then emulates the texture of skin through a porous texture; I then left the black bases as high-fired raw clay leaving a contrasting matt finish.


My work is a physical embodiment of sensuality and intimacy. There is a connection between the ceramic bodies, a set of gestures and positions that imply a conversation between figures. The phallic forms representing masculinity and the flowing curves of the black forms representing femininity.