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Ceramics: Coiling

Ceramics Coiling...Explained

Coiling is a very straightforward ceramic technique that can produce fantastic results, from simple pots to intricate vessels. Evidence of this technique has been discovered all over the world showing many ancient civilisations having used clay in this way, from China and Japan to Africa, Greece and Mexico.

  

The Process of Coiling Clay

Using the coiling process you start with just the base of your vessel and you build up layer upon layer of clay using long sausage-like shapes around the circumference of your base. This technique allows you to control the thickness of the clay walls and also means that the design and shape can be planned and developed from the very start. The interior and exterior of your clay creation can be smoothed over or you can keep the the coils depending on your desired aesthetic.

You want to start off by kneading your ball of clay with a decent amount of pressure to try and force out any trapped air, then the clay can be rolled out flat and evenly with a rolling pin. Using a template you can cut out a shape to become the base of your pot. From here you simply roll out sausage shaped coils of clay and begin building up your layers; merging, cutting and shaping them as you go. Slip should be used as well as scoring the clay in between each coil layer to act as a glue to hold the coils together

Cutting coils - Click this image for a full step by step tutorial

This is repeated to the desired height and shape of your vase, bowl or pot. You may wish to smooth the the interior and exterior depending on your desired result.

You do not have to stick to this design; coiling can be a very versatile technique, check out some of these examples of more intricate designs!

  

Also check out this time-lapse of the process!

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