Firm Slab

Your final piece should show unity of form, texture and edge. This finished project will be a geometric solid structure – a box with a flat base and sides. Students may create a variety of shapes however, the form will have flat faces that create edges where they join.

Each face should have a pattern that moves from one face to the other – the pattern should show ‘transformation’ – a slide, a rotation, or a flip.

The patterns should be emphasized by carving even to the point of carving out some negative space. The edge should be finished so that it is shows off the texture and the form of the project.

The project must be carefully constructed and dried or it will break apart either in drying or in firing. It is challenging technically.


Roll out slab on the slab roller.

Roll with a rolling pin, by hand, in a perpendicular direction to straighten out the grain and make it thinner. Clay should be between 1/4 and 1/3 inch thick.

Use a pattern to make the sides necessary for the box or other shape you wish to make. Any geometric solid will work, be creative.

Chose a pattern and roll that in so the clay is textured. You may also use a stamp or a textured roller. Make sure you texture or pattern is in it before you shape it! However, don’t wait too long before putting it together. The majority of the working of the pattern will be done once the box is joined. Otherwise it will not join.

If you are going to draw a pattern in, then you need to construct the box first!!

After you cut the pieces let the pieces rest in a bag for a day until the sides get firmer – just so they are ‘leather soft.’

To join the box cut the edges that will join at 45 degree angles so they will match up, score, slip and join. Secure the seams with small coils pressed in with your fingers or a stick tool. Whomp edges so the seam is secure – control the drying carefully as this kind of poject is prone to cracking on the seams.

Suggestions for design - Cut the edge to reflect both the texture and the form – for instance if you use the rock pattern cut the edge to the shapes of the rocks – not just straight across. Remember the edge of a three-dimensional object makes a line. How you make this edge encourages the viewer to see the form in a specific way.

The pattern needs to follow the surface of the project as we look from one side to the other. It needs, for instance, to flow decoratively into the next.

Your patterns can be abstract or narrative, however each side must lead logically and visually to the next to make a sense of whole.