It’s back to the potter’s wheel, because as with anything else, if I stick at it, I’ll get better. There’s certainly lots of room for improvement as I’m currently fairly awful. I have a little agateware mug that came from an unknown potter via a charity shop, with a nice swirl of coloured clay from having two sorts of clay thrown together. This is definitely something I have never tried and now is the time! What could possibly go wrong? (Ha, ha…)

Agateware is an old technique, according to this link it originated in England in the 17th Century:  http://ceramicartsdaily.org/pottery-making-techniques/wheel-throwing-techniques/how-to-make-agateware-vessels-on-the-pottery-wheel/

In its most basic form, you place the blobs of different coloured clay on the wheel together and then throw as normal. I have had two attempts so far, in the first attempt I had failed to wedge (mix up) the white clay properly and it had a hard bit. My black stoneware is a little stiffer than the white stoneware, too. The other problem was that the black stoneware clay is grogged, i.e. it contains bits to help it maintain its shape when fired. The white doesn’t, but it was still quite a ‘sandblasty’ experience for the hands, and I have no idea how the results will fire. Still, I have already learned that it is important to have both your clay bodies to the same consistency. I’ve made a smeary mess of the wheel and myself so I might have a few more tries before packing up and going home.

 

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Blob of black stoneware (looks red) and white KGM body clay on the wheel, side by side.
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Centering the blobs of clay was a struggle as one was harder than the other. Also the black stoneware is grogged so it’s an uncomfortable experience.
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Small, tumbler shaped vessel.

My second attempt was with slightly bigger lumps of clay and I made a bowl. It looks sort of off-centre, somehow, but I quite like it.

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Agateware bowl on the wheel, today. It will look better when it has been turned at the leather hard stage.

Has anybody reading this ever tried making agateware? Any tips for me?

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