Let's Define it: Hand Built Pottery

December 1, 2021

Here at Felt, we're always interested in expanding and refining our art vocabulary. As we researched a little bit more about the "slab method" mentioned above, we came across a new term.

Hand Built Pottery is pottery made without the use of a wheel. Instead, it is made only using hands and simple tools. "Slab" pottery is an excellent example of this method and is a relatively easy entry point for people who are just starting with clay. When using the slab method, potters use thick, flat pieces of clay (usually rolled out by a pin) to form objects. The slab pieces are joined by scoring the surface of the slabs at the connection points and using "slip", or clay diluted with water to attach the pieces together. Other recognizable hand-built methods include "pinch" and "coil" pots. You can read more about hand-built pottery here.

If you are looking for other resources and places to read up on advanced slab techniques, we recommend an article called Slumping and Draping Slabs from The Spruce Crafts, which takes the method up a notch with some helpful hints about using slabs in combinations with molds.

Photo courtesy of Ancient Pottery

Looking for slab pottery projects?

Check out this list of ideas from The Beginning Artist. We're in love with the slab flower pots and the self-draining soap dish.

Pinterest is also a wonderful place to find project ideas. We recently came across this slab pottery inspiration board and discovered all sorts of cool art projects that remind us of the work we're seeing in the Felt Facebook Group.


Under the sea clay slab

We're hoping the work of our featured artist and the articles above have inspired you to get your hands dirty this week!

If so, here's a fun clay project that uses the slab method described above from Christin Cogdon. We're probably stretching the rules of our seascape prompt here by going "under the sea", but this one was too good not to include.

We especially love the use of the textured plates to create the side-to-side motion of the water and how the instructor builds up the plate's texture using the leftover section of slab.