Trying Lauren Karle’s Transfer Method

For a class project, I needed to find an artist who is known for hand-building functional pottery and to make a pot that is influenced by that artist.

I picked Lauren Karle due to her wonderful mugs. I purchased her “Sewing with Clay” DVD and with the help of Cheryl Crownover (my SFCC teacher), I was able to build this lidded vessel. Lauren in her video challenged others to create their own patterns to transfer onto clay. Thinking of what patterns I could use, I remembered that I had created a Cat Tessellation for another class last year and decided to modify it.

Lauren Karle Urn

Lauren Karle Urn top

Being the perfectionist that I am, I attempted to transfer my kitties again. I wanted to make two mugs out of the same textile (decorated clay slab). Unfortunately, on my first mug my slab was too dry and cracked when I attempted to shape it. Fortunately, before I shaped the next one, it occurred to me to dampened the back of my textile with a spray bottle filled with water.


Lauren Karle Mug

That was the trick, and I was able to make one mug. With the cracking problem I didn’t dare try placing and shaping 5 darts. Thinking the cracked slab has just become my glazing test tiles 🙂

I have since worked some more on my Cat Tessellation, and now have 3 transfer sheets. One for the pink cats, another for the turquoise cats, and finally one with just the eyes. I need to remember to place a register mark to help me line them all up.

This project has been quite the challenge, but I feel my Mom, the quilter, watching over me, cheering my on, from her pink balloon floating up in the sky.


Hard Slab Box Casserole Dish

I started this on Wednesday. My slab took forEVER to harden enough to put it together. When I started I had a brownie pan in mind, but the sides and corners are pretty straight. Guess that doesn’t really matter since I usually put parchment paper down before my batter.


I used this wooden foot massage to texture my slabs before I cut them out. The inside of the slab pieces were textured with a coloring texture pad that has a subtle chevron pattern.


I struggled for a few days to figure out handles that would go with the piece. Grateful I can design in my head 🙂

I decided to texture a coil with the tool above, which flattened it out a bit and made it easier to attach. I also used it to texture my two rectangle handles. I am VERY pleased with the outcome!


Now, to figure out the best glazing technique to highlight the texture…decisions, decisions…

Looking at the newspaper it is sitting on…laughing.. It’s in your hands… Love? Yes! I do!

Soft Slab Fun

Monday night Cheryl spent the entire class teaching us several different techniques for building objects using slabs of soft clay. We learned different techniques for rolling out our clay, and texturing it before building with it.

I went wild Wednesday night on the texture!

On my first piece I used a piece of old lace to texture my clay before using a wooden plaque to cut the shape out. I cut darts in four places, scored and slipped them before joining to create the curve of the bowl.


Next, I used a bunch of different textures on one big slab of clay. I cut several small shapes from another wooden plaque, I turned a few into tiny bowls, and left some flat. I plan to use them as my glaze “test tiles”.



I learned that by pressing down on the wooden plaque while it is placed on top of the clay, on a big piece of foam will create a cool lip on the side of the piece. Before pressing pick it up and look at all sides to make sure they are even.

I sure learned a lot, of what not to do…

a yard stick width, is too thick

my signature stamp pressed on the back, flattens out the texture in on the front (so don’t texture the middle part of piece

be careful when rolling over the texture so you don’t move it

remember to remind Joe not to drive off before I grab my work off the dashboard. Yikes!!! luckily only lost one item.



Coiled Pots

Our second lesson was on coil pots I have to make three.

Here is my second one,


This pot needs to be a finished size of 10 inches tall, 5 more to go. I used Brutus’ old metal food bowl as a base. I wrapped it with newspaper to allow for easy removal later. I put coils on the outside bottom of the bowl, and paddled them smooth, on the inside you can still see them. I created four coil circles and used them as a template for cutting into the base. I scored and wet the base before attaching the coil circles and the next three rows of coils.

I love that I am able to use the pocket stone Lexi gave me of Christmas to smooth out my clay.

I have a few options I am mulling around on how to finish it off….we will see what it wants to be.

Pinched Pots

This semester I am taking Hand Building Functional Ceramics with Cheryl Crownover, at SFCC. It is a lot different than working on the wheel, and I am having a blast. We are working with WES, cone O4 clay, which is white when fired. We will be introduced to using clay slips, englobes, and terra sigillata for colorants. So glad I thought to grab these pieces off the bisque firing shelf…sure I will be wanting to add more colors to them first.


My Little Teapot

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One of our class projects was to hand build, an item of our choosing, out of three thrown slabs of clay. To create the slab, we first threw a bottomless cylinder. Before removing it from the wheel, we sometimes used our wire cutter to slice it into one, or two pieces, which would lay flat. I found two pieces easier to remove from the wheel, then one long piece.

For my teapot I used a cylinder which I did not slice, it was removed from the wheel, placed on a board and shaped like a pear to harden up a bit. The sides of the teapot are another cylinder sliced into two pieces and laid flat to dry. Once my clay hardened up a bit, I laid my pear shaped piece on top of one of the side pieces and cut around it. I scored and slipped the pieces before attaching them. I did the same for the other side. I used a wooden spatula to paddle and shape the spout area to be narrower than the rest of the body of the teapot. I used a wooden dowel to paddle the feet of the pot. I used the extra clay from the sides to make the handle, lid and spout.

Before glazing, I waxed the sides and bottom of the lid, and a small lip on the top of the teapot, and the hole where the lid sits. Along with the holes in the spout area. I used Butter Ranch glaze, and regret that I didn’t allow it to spread around the inside of the pot better. I was afraid I would clog my spout’s holes, which I should have made as one big hole instead of the several little ones I did.

I really enjoyed hand building, and I am very excited for my Functional Clay class, which starts next week.

Less is more

This saying makes me think of Joe. He is always saying this about his music. I decided this bowl didn’t need feet, nor sprigs, now that is has this cool rim treatment. I used my bamboo paint brush handle and rolled it across the rim to create this awesome indented pattern. On to the next hand built bowl… paisleys anyone? 1014171049

Play Doh extruder fun!

I finally broke down and bought a new play doh extruder. I hunted for a used one at the thrift store but they never had the correct size round hole.

Today I built myself a clay worktop by covering an old board with a cheap 100% cotton shower curtain. I wrapped it around the board to the back side, pulled it very tight and stapled it. The little squares on the cloth came in very handy today as a measuring device.

It was a beautiful fall day to play with my new toys outside under the vine walk. This is the start of something 🙂

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I wasn’t to thrilled with it, until I paddled it. Which flatten it all out and changed the round balls into triangle shaped pieces. That is what I love about clay, the unexpected happy moments.

I plan on adding three feet and maybe some drainage holes in the bottom, Joe requested a little sieve for rinsing grapes. I might also add some decoration sprigs around the rim, or maybe two two handles, or both.