Sadly my time at Sara Yama Studio is coming to an end. With less than a year left I need to start planning and thinking about what last final statement pieces I want to make before I move on to another new studio.
First on my list is a big floor vase. I've always loved vases and I love giant flower arrangements. So the planning and initial making of the vase has begun.
Before starting I did a few sketches of my fav. styles and deigns and decided on this one. Long tear drop style vase with a natural free form mouth. I was hoping to make something super huge BUT of course I am limited by the kiln size, max height of 94 cm, so I decided to make this one 90cm.
A vase this size needs about 20kg of clay, so this is no easy or cheap project to take on. If you think about basic price (450 yen per kilo, great price!) 20x450=9000yen or about $100. PLUS time spent making it, let's say 10 hours and a 1000yen($10) an hour price(which is an extremely cheap labor price) is another 10000 yen. Plus theres the glaze and electricity it takes to fire the thing. I'd say about 25000 yen or $270 minimum price tag.
Only when I started pottery did I realize why pieces like this have such a high price tag. The time, money and materials it takes to make a large object is massive. Now I finally understand why those plant pots at the garden center cost so much :p
To make a coil pot you need to start with a thick base, like this one in the picture. I put it on a spinning plate to make it easier to build upon later on.
Of course to make a coil pot you need tons of coils. The best way to make one is by starting off with a yam shaped lump of clay and rolling it outwards. You must make sure they are the same thickness throughout to ensure the piece won't be lumpy, otherwise it could collapse or be uneven later on.
After making about 10 coils you should be ready to start building.
When not using the coils it's best to cover them with a towel so they won't crack and dry out. Make the coils bigger than you think they should be since they will get used up in the process.
Next take a comb tool and score the edges of the base where the coil will be attached.
To ensure a good seal it's best to use liquid clay on the scored edges before putting the first coil on.
It should look something like this after brushing it on.
Next you're ready to put the first coil on. A nice thick one is best since this is the base and you'll need lot's of support once it gets higher and higher.
The next coil should not go directly over the previous, instead it should be placed half way inside. The coil must also be put on a little at a time. So one hand is holding the remaining coil while the other hand is gently pushing it down onto the previous coil.
Remember this phrase, "outside bottom, inside top"
Always start smoothing the coil from the outside, bringing clay UP from the bottom. Then after that is finished you can move to the inside and push the clay down from the top. You can see what I mean in the two shots above.
REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT.
Eventually it'll get higher and higher and start to look like something. Here the vase is about 10 cm tall. (Took about 2 hours)
2.5 hours later. Keeping the shape of my vase in mind I kept measuring and making sure I was building the vase at the right angle. Since I want a teardrop shape I had to calculate at what height it would be the widest, so keeping that in mind I kept building outward. (Widest point is at 13.5 cm)
Nearly three hours later. This is as far as I could get last week so I made sure the vase was even on all sides (no edges sticking out and not too wobbly)
I then used this handy little wooden tool to shape the inside and outside. It gave the vase a nice smooth finish. The outside isn't so important now since later on it will get shaved off anyways, so I mainly smoothed the inside.
For now a damp towel is put on to keep in moisture for when I want to build more coils on top. I hope to have this vase built by the beginning of feb. but we'll see :)
More vase building to come soon ;)
Until next time!