Clay potters working with soil at Potter’s Barn (Kumhar Wara), Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan.
Pottery is made by forming a clay body into objects of a required shape and heating them to high temperatures in a Kiln which removes all the water from the clay, which induces reactions that lead to permanent changes including increasing their strength and hardening and setting their shape.
Pottery can be shaped by a range of methods that include:
Hand building. This is the earliest forming method. Wares can be constructed by hand from coils of clay, combining flat slabs of clay, or pinching solid balls of clay or some combination of these. Parts of hand-built vessels are often joined together with the aid of slip, an aqueous suspension of clay body and water. A clay body can be decorated before or after firing. Prior to some shaping processes, clay must be prepared such as tableware although some studio potters find hand-building more conducive to create one.
Potter’s Wheel In a process called “throwing” which means to twist or turn. A ball of clay is placed in the centre of a turntable, called the wheel-head, which the potter rotates with a stick, with foot power or with a variable-speed Electric-Motor. During the process of throwing, the wheel rotates rapidly while the solid ball of soft clay is pressed, squeezed and pulled gently upwards and outwards into a hollow shape.