20 March 2020

How do I make my ceramic free standing open sculptures

Like most of my ceramic sculptures the making of my free standing open sculptures process starts on the potters wheel. For me the wheel is a tool to help create artistic creations. It can be used to create tableware but it can also be used to create sculpture. There are many possibilities.

I usually throw individual objects on the potters wheel like cylinders, cones and spheres. I use stoneware as it is good for throwing and hand-building. It is strong once fired and assists in depth of colour and glaze.

I then cut up these shapes and join them together, it is all a constructive process of cutting and joining.

Once the desired shape is complete I then use tools to refine the shape such as the edge. When making open sculptures the edge is very important as this defines the shape and the inside and outside space.

I then bisque fire the forms to 1000c to remove the water and harden the clay for the next process. All firings are done in an electric kiln to control the temperature and in most cases the results. Then I will refine them again with sand paper to remove any rough textures. I am looking for clean defined forms.

An example from a previous open sculpture.

Next stage is to spray on a white vitreous slip using the spray gun. As the colour of the clay is bage in colour, white provides a good base coat to work with. In most cases I use the white slip to highlight the rim or to create pattens. Once the white vitreous slip has been applied I then fire the sculpture again to 1100c.

 At this stage I apply masking tape to the form. The aim is to create lines and patten to highlight the form and drew the eye to the inside and outside space. I will usually use different colours to draw the eye to different parts of the form like the inside and outside. Sometimes I use gradients of colour to also help brake up the form. The spray gun is an ideal tool for this as I can achieve these effects and control the application of colour.

Depending on the complexity of the colour applied to the forms I will sometimes do multiple firings up to 1140c. At this stage I am then ready to tape up the form again and apply a clear glaze. The clear glaze is sometimes used on just the outside of the form to reflect the light so that the inside remains unglazed to absorb light. Sometimes both the inside and outside of the forms can be glazed. I like to use glaze to enhance the forms and harness the way light interacts with it. The glazed sculptures then get fired again between 1220-1260c.

Finished Results

Candy. H20 W21 D12

Follow the line. H20 W21 D12


Rising Sun. H20 W21 D11