There is nothing common about earthenware pottery except that it is made of common clay. This beautiful form of arts and crafts first made its debut in an excavation of a Neolithic tribe in exotic Çatalhüyük on the Anatolian Region in Turkey.
At the time of its discovery, earthenware was crude and soft but it has made leaps and bounds in the 20th century and is now commercially produced, heat-proofed, cold-proofed, and a regular fixture on the dinner table, in the kitchen, and in cultural food celebrations.
Earthenware pottery is a project that anyone would gladly get his or her hands dirty for. It’s messy, sexy, and exciting. Just look at that movie, Ghost, and be reminded of one of the most romantic scenes between Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze while she was molding wet clay between her fingers. This scene was made memorable because of the presence of clay.
So then, invite your friends for an intimate pottery making get-together. You will surely have something to giggle about later once you get to mold your clay.
You will need the following:
- Cover-alls or an apron
- Red clay from your local hardware or pottery store. Just make sure to inform the store clerk what you’re using it for. This type of clay is the most ideal material for earthenware pottery.
- Pottery wheel
- Transparent lead or tin-enameled glaze
- Soft brush for applying glaze
Set your CD or iPod to the Official Soundtrack of Ghost and you and your friends are all set to begin:
Conditioning, Molding, and Shaping:
- Condition your clay as you would Pizza dough. Take your clay. Knead and toss it on an even smooth surface. Do this repeatedly until it is soft to the touch.
- It is normal to see air bubbles appear on the clay during the kneading and tossing routine. You can zap this easily with a slice of a knife down the middle and on the sides wherever you see visible air bubbles.
- Now that your clay is properly conditioned, it is time to get your hands wet as your clay is extremely susceptible to drying very easily when exposed to air.
- Go to your pottery wheel and moisten the whole contraption readying it for your clay. Water will make the clay stay securely in place while being molded on the pottery wheel.
- Now take your conditioned clay and place it on the center of the pottery wheel. Turn your pottery wheel to its lowest control so that it spins slowly.
- Begin to mold the clay using one hand for molding the mouth of the clay and the other supporting the middle portion or “hip” of the clay. Remember to moisten your hands while in the process of molding and shaping.
- After you see the clay taking shape, move both hands down to the base then slowly up to shape its height.
- Once you reach the desired height, you can repeat the “shaping” process on the mouth and on the hip.
- You will see that you’re done once you see the shape holding up without interference or support from your hands.
- Turn the pottery wheel off.
- As it is made of clay, which is porous, your finished earthenware pottery needs to be glazed to seal it properly and prevent it from leaking.
- Take your transparent lead or tin-enameled glaze. Dip a brush and start glazing your finished earthenware covering it thickly on all sides.
- Let it dry.
You and your friends will surely be charmed at your earthenware pottery’s homey appeal.