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AGCT Program Folders/2021 Programs/221 Spring Exhibit

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March 14 - Barbara Francis - Ceramics

Barbara Francis 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.
At 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. We will 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

Barbara 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 the 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.)


Using 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 of the 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.


For 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 together, 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.


For 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 cut 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 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.


For 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, shown at the left. Finally, she 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.


      Pat Blackwell             Nancy Cagle                Julie Cash                 Bill Franklin



    Judy Franklin      Charleen Isbell        Karin Laws      Christine Niekamp

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