Functional Art Pottery
Learn about an artist's pieces of pottery that can stand alone or be combined into sculptures.
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Andy Howarth thinks pottery can be beautiful, useful and tailored to your own tastes. His work allows for that since it is comprised of pieces that are functionally modular as well as sculptural. He constructs different pieces that can be used together as sculpture or individually as a simple functional art piece.
He begins with a sketch of the piece he’s planning. The end result doesn’t always match the sketch perfectly, but it may retain the same feel or elements of design. He then throws the different pieces separately. He works on a large vase, with four smaller vases which all have very curvaceous shape; they will compliment each other, but are not identical.
Once the vases have been thrown, they are left to dry to a leather-hard consistency. They are then trimmed, which finalizes the shape. At this point the bottom foot of each piece is notched, allowing for the pieces to fit together; a level of sanding is also done at this stage. All the pieces are then bisque fired, a process that takes several days of heating, firing and cooling. All the pieces are taken out of the kiln and sanded once again. They are tested to make sure they fit together as planned. If necessary, the notches are refined with more sanding. All pieces are then dipped in glaze and glaze fired, which brings then to their final form.
All pieces are worked on together to make sure they fit perfectly but can be used individually. With this design you have one large vase and four smaller ones. The smaller ones rest on the lip of the larger one to make a multilayered vase; they can all be used separately or they can be used in any combination of the five pieces. The design is interesting; the colors are subtle; the interactive nature is fun and very functional.
Ryan McKerley shares his wax-resist carving process on this pottery bowl.