art teacher helping adult make a bowl

Bowl Making

  • Finished bowls will need to be brought to the church and set up in your group's display area the morning of the event.
    Each display area will need to be supervised throughout the hours of the event.
    Criteria: Bowls need to be made of clay with dimensions of approximately 3" tall x 5" wide and must be fired with a non-toxic glaze that is dinnerware safe.
    Tips and Techniques for Clay
    1. The best and easiest clay for this project is a low firing clay.
    a. Fire cone 06-04 for bisque firing
    b. Fire cone 06-04 for glaze firing--use a low fire glossy glaze.
    2. Coil method
    The vessel is strongest when the coil is started from the very center on the bottom, or by beginning with a small pinched base. Make coils at least one half inch thick & meld the coils as you wrap them. Keep the walls a consistent thickness for even drying.
    3. Slab method
    Roll out a slab approximately one half inch thick. For a drape mold, turn a bowl form over and cover the bottom with plastic wrap. Drape clay slab over the bowl form and allow the clay to dry until leather hard. Remove from form, trim and smooth edges. For a press mold, cover the bottom of the inside of the bowl form with plastic wrap, place clay slab inside bowl and press gently into the shape of the bowl form. Smooth the inside and edges and allow to dry.
    4. Thrown method
    If you have a potter's wheel, you may throw the clay into the required dimensions, trim the bottom foot, and decorate.
    5. Embellishing the bowl
    Clay is impressionable and decorations can be added by repeating a pattern of impressions. When incising a line as in a drawing, make sure that the line is thick enough to remain after the clay shrinks. A pencil works good for incising. Clay decorations can be added to your bowl after scoring and slipping with clay slurry both sides to be joined together. All small protruding pieces or rough edges should be smoothed out before firing. If not, the glaze will make this area very sharp. Allow all bowls to dry out completely to a bone dry state before bisque firing. After bisque firing, the bowls may be decorated with different glaze colors.
    6. More Tips
    Only use dinnerware safe underglazes and/or (over) glazes. Bowls may be decorated with underglaze and then protected with a clear (over) glossy glaze. Interior and exterior of bowls should be over glazed to provide hygienic protection as well as a seal against food stains
    The bottom of the bowl (underneath--where the bowl touches the surface of the table) should not be glazed as this will make the bowl stick permanently to the kiln surface.
    Three ways to avoid this:
    Stand the bowl on a kiln trivet while firing
    Glaze only to 1/8" to 1/4" from the outside bottom
    Dip the bowl into a 1/8" to 1/4" level of hot wax to coat the bottom. The wax will resist the glaze and will melt off during firing. Hot wax may be applied with a brush as well.
    If brushing on glaze, it is a good idea to put at least two layers, possibly three on the bowl. Make sure each layer is thoroughly dry before applying the next one. Using a gentle touch, rub the dried glaze with your fingers to smooth the brushstrokes or drips. If dipping the bowl for glazing(clear), make sure it is not too thin or too thick--especially near the bottom. A second dipping may be done if the first is too thin. Dipping requires a waxed bottom.