Coil Building Constructing Objects With Rolled-Out clay coils

It’s like the pottery world’s version of building with Lego, but with clay. You roll out long, snake-like coils of clay and stack them to construct various objects. It’s an ancient method, but still so versatile and fun. You can make vases, pots, sculptures, the sky’s the limit!

Steps in Coil Building

  1. Rolling the Coils: Start by rolling out long, even coils of clay. Think of it like making clay snakes when you were a kid. They should be consistent in thickness.
  2. Preparing the Base: Flatten a piece of clay for the base of your object. It can be any shape, but round or oval are common for pots and vases.
  3. Attaching the First Coil: Press the first coil onto the edge of the base. Make sure it adheres well.
  4. Building Up the Walls: Add more coils on top of the first one. Each coil should be gently pressed onto the one below it.
  5. Blending the Coils: As you add each coil, blend the inside edges together. This can be done with your fingers or a tool. It adds strength and stability.
  6. Shaping as You Go: With each coil, gently shape the walls of your object. You can make them straight, curved, or any other shape.
  7. Smoothing the Outside: Once you reach the desired height, smooth the outside of your object. This can be done with fingers, a rib tool, or a sponge.
  8. Finishing the Rim: The rim is your finishing touch. It can be left as a coil or smoothed out for a cleaner look.

My Tips and Pointers

  • Consistency is Key: Keeping your coils uniform in thickness is vital. It ensures even drying and cooking.
  • Score and Slip: For a stronger bond, score (scratch) the surfaces that will be touching and apply a bit of slip (liquid clay).
  • Take Your Time: Coil building isn’t a race. Enjoy the process and take the time to make each coil count.
  • Support the Structure: As your walls get taller, they might start to wobble. Support them from the inside with your hand as you build up.
  • Creative Textures: The coils can be left visible for a textured look or smoothed out for a sleek finish.
  • Avoid Thick Bottoms: Make sure the base isn’t too thick, as this can cause issues during drying and firing.
  • Drying Slowly: Let your piece dry slowly to avoid cracks. Cover it with plastic and let it dry gradually.

My Final Thoughts

Coil building is a fantastic way to really feel connected to your creation. There’s something incredibly satisfying about watching something take shape coil by coil under your hands. It allows for so much creativity and experimentation. So, grab some clay, start rolling those coils, and let your imagination run wild! Who knows what amazing creations you’ll come up with.

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