The potter’s art is a thing of beauty and, seeming, magic. The process looks so easy, but in actuality, years of experience are required in order to work the wheel and apply the right combinations of pressure, water and hand action to grow the perfect piece of pottery. In the following videos, Stephen Ferrell provides a demonstration of this art.
Finding and digging clay is as elemental a task as you can find. Geologists say that clay is one of the most abundant materials on earth, however, while clay can be found almost anywhere, the skilled potter tracks down the best clay location or pit, and returns to the site again and again. Many potters prefer to work in the area where the preferred clays are naturally located.
Clays show a wide range of color and marbleization, and potters will often mix two or more types of clay together to compound a material that meets their needs. Iron and trace minerals in the clay influence the color and the degree of plasticity of the clay and will also impact firing temperatures. A potter must have years of experience to determine the complex chemistry of the materials needed to create the desired product. In many regards, their art is very much a science. Watch as skilled potter Stephen Ferrell leads us through the steps of making clay.