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How Do I Make a Ceramic Vase?

Making pottery on a wheel is called throwing.
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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2014
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A ceramic vase is made from natural or specially formulated clay. Various types of clays with different properties and colors are available in a ceramics supplies shop. Review the array and buy one suitable for beginners.

Inquire if the ceramics supplies shop offers the paid use of a pottery wheel and electric kiln. Some people might prefer to buy them, but if that's not in the budget, settle for renting them. A ceramic vase can also be hand-made. Hand-made pottery includes pinch pots and coil pots. These are simple to make. Ceramic bowls, ceramic pots, ceramic plates and ceramic vases can be made using the same techniques.

For the coil pot, palm roll a moistened lump of clay. Then, placing on a flat smooth surface, roll back and forth to create elongated lengths. Coil these lengths around, one on top of another, to form a pot. With a wet a finger, flatten the inside coils together. Smooth over the rim and leave the pot to dry.

To make a pinch pot, make a very smooth ball of clay. Hold it in one palm and with the thumb of the other hand press down into the center of the ball to create a thumb hole. With the thumb inside the hole and a finger on the outside wall of the clay ball, pinch all around to shape the pot. Flatten the base and smooth the rim. Set aside to dry.

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Making pottery on a wheel is called throwing. Place a lump of clay on the wheel center, set the wheel in motion and, keeping the clay centered, fashion it into a vase. It takes practice and steady hands to keep the vase centered on the wheel as it is being formed. After the vase is shaped to satisfaction, slide a wire under its base to remove from the wheel. Let dry.

Next in the ceramic vase making process is kiln-firing the air-hardened pots. The first firing, called ceramic bisque firing, is carried out for three days at around 1800 degrees Fahrenheit (982 degrees Celsius). The pots emerge out well-browned, with a biscuit-like surface.

They are now ready for glazing. Colored under-glazes are applied first in any chosen design, left to dry and then covered with a transparent glaze. The liquid glazes are applied by brush, by sponge, by spray, by pouring on top or by dipping into.

A second firing follows the glazing. Again for three days and at temperatures of 1300 degrees Fahrenheit (704 degrees Celsius) to 2350 degrees Fahrenheit (1288 degrees Celsius). More firings may follow for additional effects. Then the ceramic vase is done.

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