Sunday, 13 October 2013


Hello Potters and Friends,

The pulling of handles is a technique that a lot of students resist trying. I myself was just the same while learning and would try any other method rather than tackle this very important technique.
So, I'm now going to set out a tutorial to try and give you all the help that you need to fix a good looking handle to your functional pieces.

So get ready........ and........

This is the shape that you roll your clay. It's a good sized carrot. Don't think it's too big for your piece because you're not going to use it all.

Hold it (by the thick end) over a bowl of water and begin gently, and I stress the word gently, stroking the clay carrot, with a wet hand, downwards over and over again. 
My clay is angled for the camera but really the clay would hang down towards the water.
Don't rush this. 
You're coaxing the clay to elongate. Don't pull!! Even though the title of the technique suggests it.
Perhaps it should really be called 'Stroking Handles'. 

Also, note what parts of my fingers are doing the stroking. No finger tips. No knuckles. Just the soft skin between forefinger and thumb.

So now your carrot is a giant's tongue. 

It's flattened out a bit and it's pretty wet but it's looking good. However, as in the previous post, the secret to good handles is attaching them at the right moment. So the top you've been holding is pressed onto a workbench or board and the tongue is allowed to dry for an hour or so.

Examine the shape then cut off your handle at your chosen point. 
Score and paint slurry on the pot as I described in the previous post, then poke your finger nail into the end of the handle. This serves two purposes. 
1. To take a good blob of slurry. 2. To fan the end a little in order to fit snugly on my rounded pot.

That end is now pressed onto the pot.
Just to show how stiff I like my clay to be when I do this, you can see that the handle can stand unaided. 

Bend it over to the shape and size that you want then cut off the excess and tidy up all the joins making sure there are no gaps.

And here it is. 
Circles painted with manganese oxide on bare clay (no glaze). But a white glaze on the inside and on the rim.

Give it a go. If it fails the first time you can take it off, smooth the marks on the pot, and just start again.

Happy Potting Folks