Mud, Sweat & Tears Pottery

Handbuilding Class

"Eat Pie" 25H x 14W x 8D

“Eat Pie” 25H x 14W x 8D

Handbuilding is the oldest and most primitive form of working with clay.  Long before the invention of the pottery wheel, these ancient techniques were employed to create the necessary tools for everyday living. With a rich history stretching back to the beginning of the civilized world, hand built ceramics are amongst the earliest artifacts found on earth.

Explore all aspects of creating with clay off the wheel. You’ll become very comfortable working with coils, pinch pots and slabs, then using these techniques in combination to model your work. Learn to use underglazes and color additives for decoration.


10 weeks – $410.00   ($100 deposit required when registering)
The deposit is not refundable or transferable.



  • Saturdays, September 24 -December 10, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

If you’re interested in taking a class,
please call us to register: (212) 974 – 9121



Focus will be on learning the following basic techniques:

Pinch Pot – a method of pinching clay between your fingers to form a bowl shape.  By combining pinch pots, you’ll learn to create closed forms and more complex projects.

Slab Building – By rolling clay into flat slabs, you’ll work to create a “box” shape… the square shape can only be achieved by hand built techniques;  not on the pottery wheel. You’ll learn to score and slip the places where you join your slabs, and then add coils to insure the strongest bond and best practices of construction. Clay slabs can also be draped or slumped over various shaped surfaces to create masks, bowls and platters.

Coiling – was used long before the invention of the potter’s wheel.  By using coils built one onto the next, pots were turned by hand on a wooden or stone turnstile and paddled with a flat object to blend them and achieve a smooth finished surface. We’ll also work to create the many decorative styles that can be achieved with coils.

After the basics are mastered, you’ll learn to combine these techniques increasing in complexity, and allowing greater diversity in the projects you’re able to create. You’ll also learn to operate the clay Extruder and the Slab-Roller; two post-modern additions to the craft of pottery that have streamlined the process, allowing for greater consistency and increased productivity for artists that work with hand built techniques.

Unique to the Handbuilding Class, you’ll learn the use of underglazes to decorate your projects with greater detail that cannot be achieved with other methods of glazing. These inert colors are used under a clear glaze to create a wide array of results from solid, opaque colors to the freer, softer feel of watercolors.

Handbuilding techniques are a great alternative to throwing on the wheel and as such lend themselves to greater portability and cost efficiency. Anyone can handbuild and everyone, especially the wheel throwing potter, will benefit from learning the best ways to alter, add to and manipulate your wheel thrown projects. The possibilities for individual and unique creative expression are infinite.

 The photos featured on this page are creations of our handbuilding instructor, Anne. Enjoy!

"St. Lucy Alterpiece" 8'H x 10'L x 6'D (Installation)

“St. Lucy Alterpiece” 8’H x 10’L x 6’D (Installation)

"St. Lucy Alterpiece" (Detail)

“St. Lucy Alterpiece” (Detail)


"Lesbian Laundry Day" 30H x 22W x 14D

“Lesbian Laundry Day” 30H x 22W x 14D

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