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Birth of a Vessel
Part 1 - Centering and Pulling Up the Sides
 
In the beginning, I have a form and a size in mind. Here, on my home-made kickwheel, I center 10 lbs of stoneware clay. For me, the centering process involves pushing the clay down into a mound and raising it into a cone shape. This process eventually distributes the clay evenly around the very center of the clay so that the form will be symmetrical at least until I choose to distort it.
Once the clay is centered, I open it from the center, pulling the clay back and up. This is to make room for my hands inside leading to the next step of pulling up the sides. When I have the width I want for the floor of the vessel, I use a "rib" (a wooden tool), to compress the clay for a strong floor. Now it's time to pull up those sides for a tall pot. With my arms braced either on my legs or tucked into my ribs, I squeeze the clay at the bottom from both the inside and out, pulling the clay up the side.
The pot is now tall enough that I can have only one arm braced in my rib. Lots of concentration here. Now we're getting even taller and I must stand to keep that inside arm straight. Still pulling up the side.
Things have happened here that you didn't see. I stopped pulling up the side and used two ribs, one inside and one outside, to give the form it's shape. I then set this pot aside to dry a bit while I threw a small ring, then I placed the ring on top of the pot. Now I'm using that ring to make the top and forming a seat for a lid.
All photography by Bill Frasier Next

Walk with me and, Oh, the things we'll see.


Gail Frasier Ceramic Sculpture
5086 Greenwood Court
Evergreen, Colorado 80439
303.670.8140