Methods of Making Pottery by Using Coils of Clay

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Coil pottery is a simple technique that gives great results. Coil pottery is a versatile method, which you can easily be accomplish by hand, without a lot of equipment. Coil pottery is a technique that is taught in beginner pottery classes and to young children. North American civilizations created its own coil pottery known as the Mimbres style. This was named after the Mimbres Indians of New Mexico.

Round Coils

You can make round coils easily by hand. Make a coil by squeezing the clay between your hands or by rolling the clay in your hands with a back and forth motion. This can be difficult because of uneven pressure from your hands. Rolling the clay on a smooth surface is easier. As you roll the clay back and forth, spread the pressure evenly. Another way to get even rolls of clay coils is to use an extruder. You place the clay in an extruder, which is a device that pushes the clay through a disk. Different shaped disks can be used for a variety of shapes.

Flat Coils

Make flat coils by first rolling out the clay with a round object on a smooth surface. Once you have rolled and flattened the clay, you can cut strips of clay to any size and length. You can also use a pasta maker to roll out even thickness of clay. Slab rollers, which are made for rolling out large amounts of clay, are available at pottery stores or online.

Using the Coils

Once you have made the coils, you can assemble them by stacking the coils on top of each other. You can use a flat, rolled circle as the base of the pot. Then lay the coil on top of the circle and stack more coils on top of the base coil. This will produce a vertical wall. To widen the wall of the pot, place the clay coils slightly to the outside of each coil layer. To have the wall come inwards, place the coils slightly inside of each coil layer. You can place coils in a mold and smooth and shape to the mold. When making a pot, coils can be smooth as each layer is added or you can leave the coil shape on the outside and smooth just the inside of the pot. Add a coil of clay to form a foot ring on the pot by turning the pot upside down and adding the coil clay to the base of the pot.

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