Category Archives: Technique


Burnishing takes time and patience. Take off your watch. Make yourself comfortable. Have your tools close at hand. I use spoons of different shapes and sizes, smooth rocks, pieces of copper pipe, and metal ribs (thin, flexible, kidney-shaped pieces metal). If I’ve thrown the pot on the wheel I do the first burnishing by securing […]

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Two Bowls

A friend of mine who comes from El Salvador and now lives in Tillamook, Oregon (land o’ cheese, trees and ocean breeze), asked me to make her two bowls for individual portions of thick soups, curries or stews and she wanted to be able to balance a piece of bread on the rim. Her description […]

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In a workshop last spring, Judy Weeden made me do things I don’t like doing, like scratching little geometric shapes onto a tile that had been painted with black slip. I hate making geometric shapes. And scratching the outline of an animal on another slipped tile and then scraping the slip off in different areas […]

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Over the last 23 years I’ve spent a lot of time on the beaches of Denman Island, beaches that are made up of wide flat sandstone rock formations that have been weathered into a honeycomb of depressions and holes and a few years ago I designed a bowl based on this honeycomb pattern. When the […]

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I was having trouble laying a large slab over a corrugated cardboard mould because the mould is so light that it moves with the slightest push. So I used the sandwich technique: thin board first, then clay slab on top, then a thin cloth smoothed over the clay slab, then mould upside-down on top of […]

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Corrugated Cardboard

Tried using corrugated cardboard to make moulds for squarish plates. I got this idea from a fellow potter, Heather Dahl, who uses cardboard moulds in her children’s classes. Using a razor knife, I cut a square shape with rounded corners (the shape of an old-fashioned TV screen) out of a large flat piece of corrugated […]

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Mother’s Day

While I was trying to lay a large slab (2 feet by 2 feet) into a slump mold I remembered the technique my mother had taught me for putting pie dough into a pie plate. She folded the edge of one side over to meet the edge of the opposite side so that the dough […]

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Conservator’s Wax

This evening I polished some burnished, pit-fired pots with Conservator’s Wax that I bought at Lee Valley Tools. I got the idea from an article about David Ogle in the magazine Clay Times (vol. 10, no. 1). David uses Carnuba oil to shine up his saggar-fired pots but I tried Conservator’s Wax because I was […]

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Sawdust Firing #2

On the ferry I read Smoke-Fired Pottery (A&C Black) by Jane Perryman and I made notes on different techniques I would try and when I got to the island I collected seaweed from the beach and straw from a wet bale beside the cabin. I wrapped seaweed around one of the pots and used masking […]

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Sawdust Firing

A few months ago I tried my first sawdust firing in a rusty 45-gallon drum that we had been using as a burn barrel at our cabin. David and I put rocks in the bottom of the barrel to keep the pots away from the rusted bottom and on top of the rocks we put […]

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