Introduction to ceramics & hand building techniques | Pau Stephens | Skillshare

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Introduction to ceramics & hand building techniques

teacher avatar Pau Stephens, Mexican Monster Maker

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.

      Introduction to the class


    • 2.

      Understanding ceramics


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Technique 1


    • 5.

      Technique 2 & 3


    • 6.

      The project


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About This Class

Hi and welcome to my "Introduction to ceramics and hand building techniques". This is the first part of a series of classes that I´m going to record and publish here.  With the help of these videos, you will be able to start working on your own ceramic projects and ideas.

In this first lesson, we are going to talk about the basic things you need to know before you really can get started with ceramics. In a very simple way, I will explain the different types of materials and how the basic process of creating something with ceramics works. After that, we will start working and practising with basic hand building techniques before we come to our final project; building a pot or a vessel with ceramics.

So I hope you will enjoy and learn something and of course, if you liked this class I hope to see you again for the next upcoming classes, where we are going to learn how to make sculptures, tiles and glaze our projects. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Pau Stephens

Mexican Monster Maker


Hi, my name is Pau and Im a Mexican monster maker.

I studied Industrial design at IED Madrid and after graduating in 2012 I started inquiring in the ceramic world, first producing my own projects and after manufacturing for other people.

I moved to Poland early in 2017 and started pursuing my artistic career making ceramic sculptures and experimenting more with shape and materials.

Currently I live in Bielefeld, Germany with my family. 

If you want to see more of my work please feel free to visit my web and my Instagram for more work in progress!

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction to the class: Hello. My name is close movements and on the Mexico, most of maker and self talk to Rome Assist. I sent an industrial design, and after brother, it doesn't drill. I started to inquire into the ceramic world. At the beginning. The idea was to self produced mighty science and my projects. And then the idea evolved into manufacturing world or designers. During that time, on my workshop in medical, I learned a lot about production, mold making and dealing with clients. In 2016 I close my workshop, moved to Poland and started pursuing my artistic career making monster sculptures. It's far into personality off my brother Alberto, who has Down syndrome and for a moment in my purse. Panic hair it ash In this series of videos, I'm going to share everything that I have learned so far about ceramics and that I wish I knew when I started. So it's going to us that he learned about ceramics. Basics? What ceramics? Where did it come from? How can I start making this type of pots or sculptures or tiles or whatever? Stay tuned and watch the next videos. Now I just live get started with this 2. Understanding ceramics: so the first thing that you need to know is what is ceramics? A lot of people can get ceramics is just a material, but no ceramics is his yard of making pots, vessels and other things made of different types off place by action off the heat. So inside, inside Islamic world, we have different types of materials surrounding, and I'd like to order them into types, high temperature and low temperature. So in the lower range, we have terracotta us that are like this replace and the normal clay that in Spanish, we call it Lohse. This clay goes from 800 degrees Celsius toe, 1050 degrees Celsius. It's more flexible. It's more there has. It has more pores, pores, but also policy that I think that is the best want to get started. It worked really well for making sculptures to make a complicated shapes because they're reduction, like every time that you put the ceramics inside the open, it has a reduction that you have to consider. So in the case, off the low temperature ceramics or place, the reduction could be like 8% or something like that, and a high temperature. We have the stone wears and the porcelain, and it's more difficult materials to control inside your because the reduction is off 11% or in depends on the lady in these things. Every country, every territory has different types of stone were like inside this stoneware and porcelain , and that got us and other things that I'm telling you. There, like a low, like a wide range of varieties like anti porcelain you have for something was born in China . So in China you have, like a lot of depending on the area of the country. The formulas is a type of porcelain to have porcelain. Limoges. You have Arita in Japan, so all of them have their own formulas. But you can say like the main characteristic of the person that is trans lucid. So if you put the personal in against light and you can see the light through it, or the shadows of your hand or whatever and that the pores are more closed, I know that's why stoneware and porcelain it's really good for these wash or these things for food, like food containers. It's really for for container the goats. The pores are so small and so that it doesn't contaminate. And it's more assistant that the low temperature, but at the same time is more complicated because it cracks easily like it doesn't has this , like tolerance to like a little you did into something well or paste something like a little mistake or whatever. In the open, it will come out with porcelain or stoneware because it goes toe higher temperatures like their ranches 1000 and 50 degrees Celsius to 1200 or 200 plus, like it could be like depending degree Celsius. OK, so moving on Amara thing that you need to know is that there are two types of consistency well divided into types. When is the liquid slip casting to Romney? It's more commonly used for mass production and the so in this seriously, because in these first episodes we're going to use this type of clay, so the basic process off ceramics is. You build your ceramic pacing whatever to meet you decide to use. In this case, I built this one. Then you let it dry and you have to polish it with some people use a sanding paper, but I like to use a wets punch. So I started, like, removing all the ferocity that this have, like all these little details, to put it in the over for this, quit and then normally that this court has to grow like in a lower temperature. Then the glaze, for example. If this goes into 150 into 1050 degrees there, this quick would be like 800 or something like that. So the ports are more open and that sort of despair that the place and then you need to live there, over kill, cool down. So you will have to wait, like for more 10 hours or something, because you cannot take out a piece when it's super hot and once it's out and it's like this quick. This this name is the best example. There's one excuse quit. So does he when I want to use to make a mold. So that's where I put like some plaster on top. But this is This is so it's like you can see listen, toe poor. So now it's ready to put some place so you have to put their after glazing. Have to put that piece again in kill. And now it has to go to the highest temperature or the one that is require for the type of place that we're using. And, yeah, I think that this were ready to move and start getting our hands dirty. So this roof or to the next episode, hundreds of techniques. 3. Materials: it is not something we want to learn the basic building techniques, and then we're going to build a pot or a vessel using one or a mix of focus techniques. So for this, so what in particular you're going to meet? I know for sure that in some countries is easier to find this type of materials done in others. For example, in the US I know that they're like a wide range of materials and ceramics and find them online or in shops dependent under country will have to investigate a little bit more. But this is like a basic low temperature cle. I recommend low temperature because it's mortal around two imperfections and the thickness of the walls or whatever. So it's a good material to get started, and then we have the peace for the tools a lot of people use, like you come by a lot of tools, but for me, the basic ones are the ones that I really like to use When these air for publishing the the material, like the clean a ceramics with these, you can get like a more Polish wool. These are for cutting or also you them toe polish more. And then I like this one toe putting inside what whatever I'm doing and to try to pull it from the inside. So, like, this curved part toe for doing that and in that basic one is this cable and this is used to cut histrionics. So cut it like this. Another thing that you will need is a piece off. Um, some peace government, in my case, I'm using that wooden table so it doesn't get stick to it. But if you have like a normal table with, like, more shiny surface, it certainly will stick to it. So it's better to use something like this to prove this ceramics we're going to use. Also, he's one of the rulers and for one of the techniques and our special blue, so you can use the same claim and put water. So in this case, I This is dry clay that I have and any to what's on water. So it gets like more liquid. And this is the glue that we're going to use to paste one peace with another piece. So you will see later. You have one of these wheels, you can use them. These I go toe and make us a metric fear. But if you don't have it, you can use also a piece of wood or something. And you can start moving your peace with that one. And girls are going to need a kill. So, as I said before in the first and videos on this clay's goto a really high temperature more than 100 800 degrees Celsius, so off course, gonna use your kitchen over in case you were wondering and you need a special kill. So if you don't have one, I think that in your town should be one like somebody that keeps lessons or whatever. Maybe you can pay for using to kill or I don't know, These worship actually is not mine. I apparent to use it so you can find a way. If you're like, really want to slow down, don't let that stop you. And if you are interested in buying a kill, I really recommend on electric kill because there are two types the electric and gas with fire. So I recommend well that there are more types. The basic ones are Gus that work with real fire and electric killed the Lord's Resistance. So here we have electric you with a programmer that it's really good to control the temperatures. Like, how long do you wanted to go up and down and all these things, or stating some level off the pressure Just a really good thing. It is really safe. So, yes, but I don't I would recommend that you do that when you are really sure that one toe, like do this for a living, or for like, a homey that you're going to use every week because they are not super cheap and you have to make a special installation and listings. So I think that's it with these materials were going to get started. And yeah, I do, too. Next, you 4. Technique 1: So the first thing that we want to learn he's not technically, Trudeau. Sorry that I don't research any in English but basically is like doing this to take a piss off play. I will make some explaining, like basic. This could be like five millimeters thickness. And I will use your studio make like an expect quick explanation, and then we're going to project will do a more complicated figure. But right now you want to give you the basics you can use, like a mold or something like something toe Know exactly the shape that you're using. In this case, I need it by Mexico stuff just like but yeah, you can use something toe. That's a reference, and this is going to be like our basic base. Then we want to do these little things. Would you like more? So I don't know if you know that with would you also like this type of things to get? I think, and then you're going to do the roll this rolling thing called Trudeau. So you will lessen Harrison's foundation videos and then you will cut where it goes together. So know how my basically, what you do with this is unify the tour with the other thing. Some people in this case I'm not going to do it. But you can also do these like little strikes in the euro. And so you start like a piston one and they were going to make another one. So this looks easy. But at the beginning from it was kind of difficult to make like a perfect euro. So you have to learn how to buy and don't press too much because it would be like flat from some areas. So you have to learn how to balance that and you can put another one. So you guys really rudimentary technique, But you will be amazed to know how this really works. Like it really works. Do your public that size. I will do the same thing over and over and over, So this looks like a cure their in their garden. But it's amazing the different types of things that you can do with this technique wants. You start like understanding is and understanding shapes and building building building. The challenge here is to get us in metric piece, try to get all the tour off of the same. Sometimes it's another to have, like these worlds. I'm going to start my to to You're gonna Are you gonna do this? You know, everything you can see more like something like and another interesting thing to roast that I will show you. Now you said you could start. It is smaller. You can make smaller Turow's and put them like a little bit more insight. And it's like, close into shape. You will start like making something murder, murder, murder and in the same thing. But instead of putting them on top, you put him in a more Indian site. And that's how you start making, like, smaller shape. Smaller, sir. And yet this is what you I think it one of the things that you can get with the So now let's go to the next technique. 5. Technique 2 & 3: so a little technique. Um, that is called technical planners for planes. Sounds wearing, But basically you have to do is like, fluff piece off ceramics. So where were you? This and I got this one's that would limit the the height of the ceremony. Claim that I'm going to. So you guys okay? This is what I found here in the workshop. But you could find something completely more smaller or more better for this thing. Okay, so once that I go to my I will cut it. So there are different types of boys. You can do this. I will make a small example heater to be the switch, the and then I will make. So here I'm going to unify these with this. It is something that I used a lot when I do my monsters, this type of technique. So I put this with this and here goes like the same thing off the glue. You may like these things to go to a typical too. Um, you put the glue and then you unify this and he's one away. Have you? And then from the inside elected. So this is one and the other one million that you want to make a box So you don't do this here and you're basically the same thing. Force your need for your and you can put more here, Let something like this just one example. It's already you fool, really making something. And yet this is the pelline. So not a bit more last one we're going to see in this missile that is their Buddha Bowl. So for the whole technique, it's like, really simple. You just make like a ceramic pool. It is what child you don't get both inside. And basically, what you do is that under your nice bull, Joe put inside a finger and then you start like giving it shape. You have to be careful. The wolves are not, like super different, like heights or sickness from the other. You have to make it like the worst. More perfect, the better. I want to make cops or and then you got If you put true, you got yourself a Japanese style. Okay, so now that's moved to our project 6. The project: support your project. I recommend that to make a drawing first. I'm not to make peace one, maybe a little bit smaller. I want to make these one. So first I'm going to build this part with the plain technic living together this plan off and then I'm going toe make this shape with nothing. You got Trudeau. So yes, that's stadia. And I recommended You have also like one of these things. So you can have, like, a main idea of the shape that are making in Europe. Like lost when you start working. So we're making my parents would have my a big piece off ceramics, and I'm going to make first part. That is, you just got here. I want a tall I mean, I wanted to be told, but I think that's a small circle. So we're probe made another one, and I touch it. I do these like I don't know if it's I didn't approach. Yes, sir. I got real ceramicist will be like, Dude, what are you doing? Like unifying this things. But I don't know, like I have tried it before. Maybe with porcelain. It wouldn't be that acceptable because personally or stone. Where is more like prepares to cracking in the open? They have, like this little details. But for what I'm doing, I think that there's no problem. So you will learn with time. You will learn that the limitations that you have when you can do something or when you can't. So yeah, this one, I'm risk everything to see what happens. You can just temp like I do it by I everything, because I do like the second trip a lot. But if your new, like have a template or like a big, I think with what you're doing, so you don't get confused or get something pork. Sometimes when you're making the big stuff, you need to let it like, make the shape and then they dry a little bit, and then you continue building because sometimes it's too like wobbling. And, yeah, you cannot give the real shape to it until it's a little bit more dry. If you can put up a plastic bag on top of it and let it like drive for a while and then or next day, you comment, remove the plastic bag and start working. If you leave your peace without the plastic bag and you're not finished and it gets strike . You kind of keep working on it. That's the thing that you have to know before you're ruling things. So now, in this case, I've been a little bit wobbly, but I'm gonna keep going because other way I am. And now I'm going to work in the licks off my piece. So what I like to do is to make, like, a cut here, and it could Here, that's the way I make my monsters, like most of the time. And then the other one. And that's the way I do it. A legs. So what? I do know this and start to perfection it this one first before I move to the next thing. So here I'm missing this parts, so I would put more play there. If it's missing, you can do this little tricks from the inside, according to mess you can imagine, because off the cuts and everything Oh, try to fix it. This thing. I'm lucky that I decided to make, like, really big this my hand fits, but sometimes you're handles our fates are you need to use this tool when you need to manage. You need to discover what works better if there's like another type of tool that you can use, You know, you do these and many more, um, tricks, you learn. So before I start like making took part, that is going to be closing, I need to fix the inside the goes Then at some point, I will not be able to put my hand inside. So it's really good that you take in advance like there were You organized the building of your piece. Okay. First, I will do the legs and everything because if I do this part, I will not be able to do this, for example, and support my place in this in the bottle. So now I have to fix the legs first so I don't have toe put it again upside down. But there was little things you will learn. Well, you're working like I want to remind you, and I always explain my students and everybody that I'm trying to teach this or whatever think they were trying to learn. You need to be really patient. You need to practice a lot. Just start doing right now. Maybe you do something like this. But maybe next time you do something bigger and made a statement, and then at the end, you're going to be discovering, like, different ways. Two. Defense. Um, I'm just giving you the basics, but at the end, it's all in your like everybody has their own way to do things every day. When I talked to older ceramicist or whatever, I find that they do things completely. Friend on me and at the end is just like you have to discover your own material, your own style, our own technique. So, yes, but it's good that you don't forget the basic rules. Like for example, you're gonna put the ceramic piece went inside the over and our oldest things. So that's what I'm teaching, you hear, like the technically t's. But at the end, you can do whatever you want. Like I don't here. Normally I this is the top, the berry somewhere, and here's the back and in the back. I always choose the part of flight. Or is the meeting point between one and the other thing is always the back for me? Take a rolling going to the right. Yeah, so no the curbs and God would hear. Sometimes I go with this one some other times I cook. But this what I do make like line I want to cut Example is one. And then I put this district in final line Just go to more. No, Bridget. But so remember, like if you are not finishing, you have to go have lunch or whatever and you come back. Don't forget to put a bag on top so he doesn't get dry. And in this case, what I'd like to do is first start close in this and they put two more and then again to more because it's getting smaller, smaller, smaller, and I cannot fix easy. I'm trying to America symmetric as I can you can see like So I'm just pushing with my fingers. And now I will fix this to make it like the same height and more perfect circle. Okay, so here we've got the please is a front and it's pretty similar to this kitsch. I think I'll still try toe make a symmetrical can. But it's difficult to have a symmetric, perfect symmetric peace with this technique. So, yeah, I like the result. So nice lower parts for so nice flowers. And yeah, I hope that you upload your project so I can see them. If you have any doubts that you know and I have to go blow the next episode soon, that will be how to make a ceramic sculpture. And we're going to get morning toe details, textures. And I didn't like the all, for example, making more complicated shapes, so yeah, but first, I need you to let me know if you like this and Yeah. So you in the next Listen, my