Wiggling and Faceting: More DIY Pottery Tools

I’m taking a throwing class at The Clay Studio this summer with a wonderful teacher.    At our last class, we learned how to throw faceted pots.  Read more about faceted pots here.

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Some examples of faceted pots we saw in class

Then the teacher showed us a faceting tool with a wiggle wire instead of a straight wire.  It left interesting patterns when it was dragged across the clay to cut facets, and there are a number of ways you can drag the wiggle wire through the clay to decorate your pot. Take a look at some examples here.

I have always liked the look of mugs that were cut off the wheel with wiggle wires, but I never invested in a tool to do it.  That and the faceting tool got me to thinking.  Why not make myself some wiggle wire tools?  And that’s what I did.

 

I made a cut-off tool first.  I had an old straight wire cut-off tool that was a bit frayed.   I simply coiled the wire around a mandrel and it kept its shape when I removed the mandrel.

 

If you don’t have a spare cut-off tool, you might try coiling stainless steel wire which is more difficult to do and not as flexible, but if you coil a long enough piece, it should work.  I would recommend a 22 gauge or so wire. Crafting and similar type wires are probably too soft and liable to rust.   Attach the ends to washers or dowels and voila!  a wiggle wire cut-off tool.

For the faceting tool you will need a piece of wood about the size of a small pocket comb, say four or five inches long and an inch or so wide.   I cut off part of a paint stirrer that was thick enough to accommodate screws but I would recommend a sturdier wood for a better tool.

I  drilled holes to accommodate two flat-head screws and two holes on each side for the screw eyes.

I coiled some 22 gauge stainless steel wire around a mandrel.  I recommend that you secure the mandrel and wire in a vise before winding.  It will make the job much easier.

 

 

Insert the hardware.  You might want to add a drop of wood or epoxy glue in the screw hole if you are using a soft wood.

Uncoil the wire.  It will be stiff.   Make several wraps around the screw eye and feed a straight section through the slot in the nearest screw. You might have to straighten out a bit of the wire with flat pliers to do this. The picture shows you how you should have your screw angled and why a Phillips head screw won’t work.

Stretch the wire over to the next screw and make sure it fits into the screw slot before winding the rest around the other screw eye.  Be careful when you cut this wire because it is stiff and can go flying.  You can tighten the wire by turning the screw eyes.

 

You can also try pulling out springs you might have around the house and using them to facet pots.  But I think the tool would give you more control.

Two more tools to add to my vast and growing collection!     Here’s a video showing how to put facets on a pot with a wiggle wire.

 

 

 

 

Last Summer Class at The Clay Studio

I spent my last class at The Clay Studio this Summer glazing and glazing.  We have to have everything off our shelves and ready to be fired by the end of the week.  And because it was the last class, we all brought food to “celebrate.”  Since it is a morning class, I brought doughnuts. Or I had planned to bring doughnuts.  I made the mistake of leaving them in a plastic bag on the counter last night.   When I got to them this morning, they were crushed to crumbs and there was a hole ripped in the bag.  The culprit?  


BOORIS!

BORIS!

Boris came to live with us exactly one year ago and he has gone from a timid, scared jumpy cat who sleeps all the time into a little feisty feline felon.  This is his house now and he is not about to let us forget it.

On to the pottery

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The above pieces are white porcelain with underglaze surface decoration.  They’ll get glazed with a clear satin matte glaze.

The pieces below are nerikomi fired at cone 6 and unglazed.

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TCS

I plan to take more classes at The Clay Studio, but in the Fall, I am returning to Fleisher.

Back to The Clay Studio

I have been dreaming about working in porcelain clay ever since I stopped going to The Clay Studio  almost 25 years ago.  I love the pottery studio at the Fleisher Art Memorial  and plan to return, but they only fire earthenware and terra cotta, no stoneware and no porcelain.

So I signed up for a hand building class at TCS and am on my way to porcelain bliss.  I spent last Tuesday digging into a bag of porcelain clay and making pinch pots, a soap dish and a little sculptural piece.  There are so many new things I want to try that I have to remind myself to breathe.

I feel so lucky to have two great pottery studios so close to me. The Clay Studio is another Philadelphia treasure.

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