SSL Certificate

Sandi Pierantozzi

June 2015

Flat to Form: Handbuilding Pots

Course Description

In this workshop we will cover how to hand build functional pots which have good form, function well, and have a sensitivity to the human touch as well as other senses. Demonstrations will include forming techniques that use circular and rectangular templates, and the method of making various parts fit together. Through making and combining cylindrical and conical parts made from soft slabs, cutting darts, and coiling and pinching, a variety of forms will be shown. Alternate ways of treating the bottom of a pot with regard to added feet or foot rings will be included, as well as various types of handles made from slabs and coils. Good craftsmanship is important, so there will be much attention paid to detail and finishing touches. Bisque fire only. (Note: Participants are asked not to videotape any demonstrations in this class.)

Skill Level
Open to all levels of experience.

Artist's Biography
Sandi Pierantozzi has been handbuilding pots for 30 years. Her work, which is predominantly slab built, has been featured in Studio Potter, Ceramics Monthly, and Clay Times, and in over a dozen books on clay work. She has presented numerous workshops across the country and has exhibited her work nationally and abroad. Her work is in both museum and private collections. She was chosen an Emerging Talent at the 1993 NCECA conference and was a featured demonstrator at NCECA in 2001. Her awards include a 2001 Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Hammill & Gillespie Purchase Award at the 1999 Ceramics Monthly International Ceramics Competition. She and her husband, Neil Patterson, maintain a private studio, Neighborhood Potters, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Artist's Statement
I primarily make slab-built functional pots that are also decorative. My intent is to make pots that are friendly, approachable, happy, and playful, yet have an understated elegance and formal quality about them.

My pieces are slab built from cone 6 Porcelain. After rolling a slab with a rolling pin, I use rectangular or circular templates as a starting point for each pot. I then either cut out darts or pinch the clay into the desired form. I often work from sketches I’ve made, or just let the process guide me into the form. My forms are inspired by many sources such as nature, architecture, and beads. My surface decoration is mostly inspired by fabric and clothing.

Making pots is meaningful to me because I appreciate food, celebration, and setting a beautiful table. In this "age of communication," where most communicating is done electronically, and food is eaten out of paper, plastic, or Styrofoam, my hope is to communicate through my pots, by bringing some creative life into eating and drinking. A handmade pot contains the soul and energy of the maker, and when used, a human connection is made. These basic connections between people keep our souls alive.

Artist's Website

Supply List:

  • * Sketchbook or notebook
  • Basic clay tools:
    • * fettling knife
    • * needle tool
    • * scoring tool (can be a serrated rib)
    • * small sponge
    • * cutting wire
    • * small brush for clay slip
  • Other Tools:
    • * Paddle
    • * X-acto knife with #11 blade
    • * ruler
    • * large rolling pin
    • * small pastry roller
    • * wooden modeling tool for smoothing clay
  • Texture Options: Found objects, fabric, mesh, stamps, or anything else that would make interesting textures.
* Materials marked with an asterisk* will be available for purchase in the Shakerag store.
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