Built by hand

It’s been a while since my last post. My summer holidays were pretty busy so time was a little restricted for blog writing.

Let’s talk hand building. There are various methods of hand building with clay.


The 1st 3 methods are ones that I use so I thought I would explain them a little.


2 pinch pots joining to form 1 piece

Pinch pots are the oldest method of pottery. Used in the Ice Age & Neolithic periods to create vessels for cooking with and eating from. It’s as simple as it sounds. A ball of clay is pinched open using your hands as tools. You can join 2 pots together to make a complete form or pinch one piece closed and adjust the shape. It can also be added to using the next method, coiling.



Coiling is when long coils of clay are joined on top of each other and built up to the desired form. The coils can be made by hand or by a piece of equipment called an extruder. This saves a lot of time and makes uniform coils much neater and precise. I love coiling. I find it really therapeutic and satisfying.


Slab building involves rolling clay out to a uniform thickness, waiting until it has dried a little and then cutting and joining slabs. Slabs can also be used in moulds as another method. Slabbing involves careful drying to avoid warping which is a whole science itself!


Different methods can be used jointly, for instance a slab or pinched pot can be coiled onto or a thrown piece can be coiled onto. The best thing is to experiment and find the thing you like.

Pinch pot candles I made
A slab built wine cooler



This is a coiled lamp base I made