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.

Six Matching Mugs~Final Project

For my final project in my clay throwing class, I first attempted to make a teapot but ended up with two bowls instead. So, I decided to switch to something I knew I could make. Six matching mugs. By this time in class I felt like I knew what I was doing. I was able to center my clay without spending too much time. I has also gotten very good at pulling up my clay up to create a soldier straight cylinders, with wall that were pretty even.

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For the glaze I chose my favorite Yellow Salt. On the first mug I wore a glove to dip it. I missed a section and ended up re-dipping it. You can see the brown spots on the bottom where my fingers held it. For the rest I used the tongs to hold while I only did one dip.

On the double dipped mug, on the inside the glaze covered the throwing marks and it has more of a shine instead of the matte finish I prefer. I am glad the glaze lid would not come off, and that I took it as a sign, NOT to dip them all twice.

I really do like my fingermarks on the one, or as I dubbed them Rita’s Mark. Since my classmate intentional put them on her pieces as her signature, such an awesome idea!

Cinnamon Roll Bowl

This was a hand built bowl, that I made outside of class. I used a play dough extruder to make my ropes of clay. I coiled them up and used a plastic bowl as my form. When all the coils and balls of clay where in place, I used a wooden spatula to paddle them flat and together. I loved how the round balls of clay turned into triangles. I used a wooden dowel to place the decorative edge impressions. For the glaze, I dipped the bowl into Spotted Shino twice, then I wiped most of the glaze off the outside but not the inside. I was a little disappointed that the cracks between the rolls on the inside were filled in with the glaze. You can see them better on the outside, but the glaze feels rougher.

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Glazing again!


This teapot was hand built from thrown cylinders that were sliced, and then laid flat to make slabs. Once the slabs were almost leather hard I built the teapot. The spout was a piece of slab that I spiral wrapped around my finger and then thinned out before attaching. When the piece was a bit harder I pounded it with a wooden spatula to make the shape more uniform. I pounded the bottom with a dowel to get the rounded foot. I glazed this piece with Ranch Butter.


Here, I was attempting to create our assigned convex/concave shape. When I got to the concave part, on the top, my wall got to thin and part of it caved in, so I went with it. I pulled it up and then caved it down evenly and squared it off. Lucky for me it worked for one of my three altered pieces. For the glaze I used Phil’s white, with John’s Read dropped on top. Hoping the John’s red with give me the really pretty purple in the middle of the bowl.


This is the largest piece I have thrown so far. I altered it while it was wet, I was very pleased with the trimming on it and the swoop that was created. I dipped it in Malcolm shino and dipped only part into Tenmoku.


Dipped into Malcolm shino and half into Teadust.

This is another thrown slab piece. I dipped it into School Bus Yellow, which is a white with a pretty silver purple.

Dipped in School Bus Yellow and then again in Bailey’s Red, and drops of Bailey’s Red on the inside (which cracked in parts).


This convex piece was dipped in Black and then again partially into School Bus Yellow.


This altered convex piece was dipped into Tenmoku and then again partially into Blue Jean.

All are in the kiln and should be out in a few days, can’t wait to see them!