Pinch pots are one of the most versatile starting points for pottery projects. Once you can master creating a pinch pot, you can create an infinite number of beautiful, unique, handmade items. Hand built pottery makes wonderful Christmas gifts, thank you gifts, Birthday Presents, Housewarming gifts, and more. Here, I have compiled a list of a few of my favorite projects that begin with the pinch pot.
1. House Dome
Start with a large pinch pot. leave it upside down with the lip supporting it while you work. When it is firm, cut out doors and windows. You can roll a slab and cut out strips of clay to make a chimney, windowpanes, door frames, brick arches, and more! To me, they look like little hobbit homes, especially if you make the doors and windows round. I like to put tea lights under them, but some people put them in their fish tanks as decorations. I like to under glaze them with bright colors, bisque fire them, and then use a Relic Wash to give them some depth.
You need to be able to make pretty big, even, pinch pots to make teapots. Make them as large as your hands allow, and then join them together at the lip. I also roll a snake and wrap it around the seam in order to better seal it. Smooth the seam till you have a nice clay “balloon,” and then let it dry a little until it becomes firm. When it can support itself well and doesn’t bend when you apply pressure, you can cut a hole and attach a spout. You can use a slab as a spout, make a coil spout, or throw a spout on the wheel if you wish. Attach the handle, and cut a hole in the top for the lid. I like to make a keyed lid by holding my knife at a 45 degree angle as I cut. Score and slip a knob onto the lid. Teapots are extremely versatile when it comes to design. Try making a teapot that looks like your favorite object.
3. Tea Bowls
Tea Bowls are thoughtful and sweet gifts for friends and family. I usually make them by creating a large pinch pot, rolling a snake for the small, round foot, and pressing some texture into the front. I glaze mine in a rich, dark brown glaze with gold flecks called Temoku. There are many different ways that you can make tea bowls. You can read my article on tea bowls to learn more techniques.
4. Animal Figurines
I can make all kinds of animal figurines using pinch pots. I start by making two small, identical pinch pots and joining them together. this makes up the body of the animal. I attach arms and legs by slipping and scoring, but I can make them more secure by making a dimple in the body and the joint of the limb coming to a point. Make sure the arms and legs are thick enough to hold up the body securely. Don’t make tails or limbs that stick out too far or you run the risk of them breaking off. And most importantly, be sure to poke a hole into the belly once the body is firm. If you leave the hollow part of the body enclosed without a hole, the moisture in the clay will force its way out of the middle during the firing. This would cause your animal to explode!