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March 14 - Barbara Francis - Ceramics
started making pottery in 1979, while in school at
Hope College. She went on to pursue a degree
in Blind Rehabilitation, earning
an MA in 1980. She continued her interest in pottery while working
in the blindness field, and took classes through various art centers
and community colleges in Michigan, New York and Texas. She has
taught classes through MCC continuing education, at the Waco Art
Center, and in her home studio. She sells her work through shops
and art fairs in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Tenn.
the demonstration she plans to make a 2-sided, textured teapot from
textured slabs she has carved in advance, demonstrating how they are
used to construct such pieces. The textures don't show up well in
the thumbnails in this announcement, but click
on on one to enlarge it and you
will be amazed at the effects Barbara achieves.
meet at the Central Library, 1717 Austin Ave. Refreshments and
conversation at 1:30 will be followed by the meeting and demo at 2.
Bring friends, and also a work or two for Show and Tell.
March 14 - Barbara Francis - Ceramics without a Wheel
Francis, who teaches ceramics locally and sells them here and elsewhere,
demonstrated her technique of rolling out slabs of mid-range temperature
white stoneware clay, carving decorations into
clay, and shaping it into a lovely teapot. To achieve the designs and
textures she wants, she creates texture slabs of various sizes on which
she carves her designs free hand and bisque fires them. She began a
teapot by rolling the soft clay over the texture slab to impress the
design. (She passed around blank slabs and encouraged each of us to
imprint designs and pass to the next person. This technique of carving
into clay is called Sgrafitto.)
a paper template, she cut out the shapes of the two halves of the teapot
and draped them over cylinders (carpet tubes) to create the curved shape
teapot. She shaved and beveled the edges with a Surform tool. To
put the two halves together, she scored and painted a mixture of water
and clay (slip) on the edges and pressed them together, smoothing the
joint and cleaning out the inside of the seam. After leveling the bottom
edges, she set the piece on a slab of clay, then lifted it off and cut
out the bottom shape. She scored and slipped each edge and attached the
bottom to the body.
the top she placed a slab on the top of the body, and traced and cut out
the shape. Using a cylinder similar to a cookie cutter she cut a hole in
the top for the lid. She scored and slipped the surfaces of the top and
the body and bonded them
as shown at the top right . For the lid, she cut a circle of clay a
little larger than the hole in the top. And created a flange by cutting
and rolling a strip of clay into a cylinder. She scored and
slipped the edges and attached the flange to the lid, shown at the left.
Then she made a knob by pressing clay onto a texture slab in the shape
of a leaf, rolling it into a curve, and joining it to the lid.
the spout, she rolled a solid piece of clay into a tapered cylinder, and
created the hollow by pushing a small dowel lengthwise through the
center of the roll, rolling it, then changing to a larger dowel and
rolling it, shown at the upper right. She
the bottom of the spout at an angle and placed it on the
teapot so that the tip of the spout would be where the water level would
be when the teapot is full. She used a pen tool to trace around the
shape of the spout and pressed out the clay ½ inch from the center to
create the hole in the body, shown at left. She smoothed, scored, and
slipped the spout, attaching it to the body covering the hole, shown at
the lower right.
the handle, she rolled out another tapered cylinder, bent it into a
curve, cut the ends at an angle, scored and slipped and attached them,
and smoothed it with a wet chamois,
at the left.
decorated the rim with small balls, shown at the upper right, and
planned to attach some balls to the
spout when she got home. The pot at the end of the demo is shown at the
lower right. Barbara was a delightful presenter, obviously enjoying her
work very much, as did we. Our thanks to Barbara, to Thomas Godby,
Charleen Isbell and Judy Franklin for bringing refreshments, and to
those who brought art for show and tell, shown below.
Judy Franklin Charleen Isbell
Karin Laws Christine Niekamp