Ceramic Cones: From Pottery to Sculpture | Anne Goodrich Hunter | Skillshare

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Ceramic Cones: From Pottery to Sculpture

teacher avatar Anne Goodrich Hunter, From the Tumalo Art Farm

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

3 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Wall Vase

    • 2. Cone Vase with Stretched Texture

    • 3. Deconstructing the Cone

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About This Class

Making basic geometric forms out of slabs is an essential skill.  Most sculptures are composed of a combination of forms like cones, cubes, spheres and cylinders or fragments of said forms. We'll start with easy soft slab cone construction which can be used as wall vases.  Then we'll experiment with stretched textured slabs as we make a whimsical cone vase. Finally, we'll work with hard slabs as we deconstruct the cone and practice putting multiple forms together. Deconstruction is a great way to play with art elements like balance, symmetry, weight and negative space. 

Since this is an intermediate class you should already know how to slip and score, roll out a slab of clay and manage the moisture level of your slabs. Alright, let's get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Anne Goodrich Hunter

From the Tumalo Art Farm


Hello, I'm Anne Goodrich Hunter; I've created the Tumalo Art Farm where I make my own video lessons so that I can share my expertise with you! You can even come visit me and the animals the next time you come to central Oregon. https://www.hipcamp.com/oregon/tumalo-art-farm/tumalo-art-farm

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1. Wall Vase: wait for the texture on my wall base. I'm gonna repurpose some printmaking plates. Well, pieces students made. This texture is just from a coffee sleeve. There's some cut up jeans and other fabrics just glued onto chipboard. Various thicknesses of paper already rolled on my slab and second just laid over that plate and roll it in. Not worried about the printmaking, it'll burn away. And if you don't want to make your own texture mats, there are plenty of commercials, rollers and maps. You can see how lovely that texture is, just from cut up pieces of fabric and paper and cardboard. You know, if I have a area that I'm not super happy with, I can kind of smooth it out and then use my plate more like a stamp to try and correct the area. As usual, I like to draw before a cut. I know I want a cone, so I'm going to start with a basic triangle. It's rounded on bottom. It's gonna look like a piece of pizza with a bite out of the top. This base we're working with wet slabs, so if I hold it up in wiggle it, you can see, it's like lasagna noodle. It has a lot of movement to it. It's not dried out much at all. That's gonna make it really easy for us to form. But we're not gonna be able to get a perfect cone. It's gonna be more slumped, which is what we want, because it's gonna be backing up to the wall. But we're gonna want a flat edge. Since this is an intermediate class, I'm gonna assume you already know how to slip in score, and I'm gonna speed right through that process. - We're going to make this a wall base that can actually hold water and have flowers in it. So we got to take extra care to really blend the outside seam that seem will be facing the wall, and it won't show. So I'm not as concerned about the aesthetics and lining up the pattern as I am really making sure it's watertight. Of course, the end of the cone is vulnerable. Spot for leaking is I'm gonna pinch that close. You can either pinch it straight down. I'm gonna give the base my cone just a little bit of a curlicue that will reinforce the inside of it seem, with a thin coil of nice wet clay, - so that wet slab is slumped enough that we have an oval for opening instead of a circle. That's good. If it were circular, it would kind of rock back and forth. When we hang it on the wall, we want that little bit of slumping. No, I'm just touching up some textures that got ruined a little bit as I was working with the cone. - I tend to spend quite a bit of time smoothing out the lip. It's really important to me that it not looked like it was hacked into by a knife, but that it's soft and rounded. Well, I'm gonna add a little crease and then pull the lip toward me. Give it a little roundness, little softness. - I'm really happy with the form and the lip. Then I'm gonna turn it around and drill two holes in the back. After it's fired, I can either run ribbon or twine through these or Aiken stick nails directly through to the wall. There are punch tools that will give you perfect circles nice and clean, but they're a little expensive, so you're welcome to use your fiddling knife. It just takes a little extra time to clean up the shavings, as usual, have edit out a lot of my smoothing and clean up process that you should know by now. That's what's gonna take up most your time. 2. Cone Vase with Stretched Texture: okay for this project. I'm gonna work with paper, Clay, just cause it's kind of fun that makes it up on. I'd like to show you some of its properties, but if you don't have paper Clay, you can do this with regular play. One of the reasons I like paper clay is you can work much thinner and it'll still hold together. Here's a Kona made last night. It's already dried out, and you could see how tough it ISS. So I'm starting out by just drawing on a slab. I want you to just experiment with the various tools you have. You may use some tools to carve others to just press in a texture. So just this you really feel like play. Have fun with it. Okay, this next bits a little tricky, but it's optional. I'm going to stretch out that slab. This is a little bit easier to do with paper clay, because all those paper fibres, they're gonna hold your slap together, and it's less likely to tear. But it's absolutely doable with regular clay as well. To do this, I'm throwing the slab against the table, trying to get it to come in smoothly for a landing like an airplane would. I don't want the nose to hit first or toe the tail to hit first, trying to keep it parallel to the table that'll stretch the clay and stretch the texture. It will make it more organic and natural looking. You've seen me make a comb before, so let's zip through this. Okay, here's one of my favorite techniques with Clay gonna reach inside and push gently, slowly push through the clay to try and make these little bubbles. It's better to go little by little and then go back and pop it out more than try and do it all at once. He stressed the clay out too much. It's gonna rip. We can't reach with your fingers. You can certainly use a tool. Let's practice that on a slab of regular clay. Just a scrap I have. And in fact it's a really good idea to practice on scraps before you go in work on your base. With this new technique, you might even want to have a few different scraps of different moisture levels to see how it works. When the clay is really soft, birth is versus leather soft versus leather hard. - Okay , back to her comb, pay per click and and be a little bit difficult to trim. I'm going to just cut about halfway through, and then I'll rip or tear that play a part. You'll actually be able to see the paper fibres. My goal here is just to get the cone to sit flat on the table without any gaps. When I find a gap, I can either add a little bit of clay to it. Oregon trim the clay next to it again. So it's it's nice and flat. Good. Another little slab of paper, clay. And I'm going to put a base on this because I actually want to use this cone as a base. I wanted to be watertight. I'm gonna put flowers in it. You can choose to be a just sculptural. This one I'm going for functional. Okay, here is the real magic of paper Clay. I can work with it even when it's bone dry. I'm gonna use my serrated ribs. Just saw off the end of this cone that I made last night. Open it up. If song isn't working for you, you can also use your needle tool. Just know you're gonna have to take more than one pass. The clay is actually really tough. Since that top edge is gonna be the rim of my face, I'm gonna dip it in a little slip to soften up the edges. I'm really picky about my lips. Lip is where form meets space. I needed to feel like it's polished. Finished inviting. Well, now that's silly. I went off camera to do the attachment. Let me pull it apart and try that again where you can actually see it again. This is where paper Claire really blows my mind. I can add dry clay to wet clay. I don't even have to score. Gonna add slipped to both pieces And as it drives that slips Gonna pull into the dryer piece and bond the two together. I just need to add a little bit of pressure and give it a minute or two to allow that slip to soak into the dry clay. How do we know that it's working? I can give it a little poll. I'm gonna use my brush to just kind of clean up my seems, But any little birds that seems sharp. you want to smooth out, move any goobers from the bottom. There we have it. A whimsical little base made with paper clay really love all the textures and patterning. 3. Deconstructing the Cone: all right. I'm starting out with some slabs that air leather soft. Which means I made them earlier, but I let him dry out enough so that they are kind of rubbery without being like a lasagna noodle. I'm just gonna cut that into, like, a pizza shape slice of pizza. The bite out of the top slowly gonna curve that around. If I bend it too fast, I'm gonna end up with, like, a flattened cone and more of a taco shape. So I just take my time with the clave. In this case, I've actually let my slab get a little bit too dry, so I'm gonna brush some water on it. I don't want it dripping with water just enough that it's gonna soften the clay a little bit. And I can use my paddle to kind of pound that water into the surface. It's still just going slowly is your best option. Once your edges meet up, of course, you're going to slip in, score pretty assertively and then starting at the top, work your way down using your thumbs to press. Those seems together not worried about blending yet. I'm just trying to get those two edges to stick so that later I could go back in with a tool. And really? So those two edges together, driving clay from one seam across to the other and then back the other way, just doing a rough, smooth, loud. Now I'll do more later, and on the inside it's much more difficult to blend. But I'm gonna at least give it a little little run with a tool. If my cone doesn't line up just right, I can trim the end. And then if I have any flat spots or bumpy spots, I can take my paddle and continue to round out my comb, and we're going to do that again. But we're going to make the next cone a little different shape and size, and I know for sure my slab is too dry. So again I'm taking a sponge, very little water on it. And then I'm gonna slap that slab against the table to push the water into the clay again. We don't want puddles or drips, but we can slap a little water back into that clay and loosen up. Just be sure to wipe away any excess if you got too much in any one spot. Okay, for my next cone, I'm gonna go wider and taller. Since you've seen me do this before, let's watch really fast. The most vulnerable spot on this seem is gonna be the very end. So after a trim up the bottom of the cone, I'm gonna go back and really make sure that I've blended. I like working on two cones simultaneously because when one needs to set up, I could be working on the other one. And then when I'm done working on the 2nd 1 usually the first ones a little dryer and I could do more smoothing, blending and refining. Our goal with this project is to deconstruct the cones. So I'm going to draw a line showing myself the angle. I want to cut it at, choke up on that knife and then go ahead and make my cut. The idea behind this project isn't that different than a little kid who might take apart watch to see how it worked. We're gonna take it all apart, play with the different elements and then put it back together, creating something new. Once I got at least five different pieces, I can start to close them off. So I'm just taking some scraps of slab, finding one that's big enough. I'm gonna trace around the slab so I know where I need to step in score. And then I'm basically putting a cap on the top and the bottom of peace. I'm starting with my largest piece, but you could start with any one of yours. Like most things we do with Clay, it starts out looking pretty rough and messy. And then we go back and scrape and refine and polish. And when I slipped and score the other side, I have to remember that I've created an air bubble inside that piece. So after I slipped, score, trim, blend. I need one little teeny and tiny needle hole so that air and really mostly water can escape . Otherwise, my piece is going to explode in the kiln. Now we get to the fun part. Where you get to play with the different components is if they're puzzle pieces. Turning him around upside down is going to change the proportions where how you put things together, it's gonna change the angles in which they interact. So I really want you looking at those relationships between the different pieces and even the relationship to the space around perform. Once you put it together, don't be afraid to trim pieces up. Make them smaller. Change the angles. You're the master here. Once you feel confident about where you want to place a piece, you just use the same old techniques of trace slip score. Don't be afraid to put a little pressure When you put those pieces together, you can even use the paddle to really push it down into the other piece. We're even gonna roll a teeny tiny coil of soft clay and blended in that seem so I'm doubly sure that it's all going to stay together. As I combine various who played pieces and play with the angles. My piece is starting to take on some interesting wait. It's almost like it's defying gravity. There's no rule that says you have to use all your pieces. In fact, one of the most important things is knowing when to stop, so it's important to take it, step back and look at your work every once in a while and ask yourself, Does it feel like it's complete? Once the answer is yes. It's just a matter of polishing, refining, smoothing. You may be tired of your piece at this point, but remember, once it comes out of that killed, you can no longer smooth and blend it. Any jagged spots or imperfections are there permanently. I've edited it'll out a lot of my process, but just know that I spent more time blending, smoothing and perfecting than I did actually building what I really wanted to. I could use this as a flower of face, but my primary goal is to create something that has interesting angles, proportions in space.