Monday, March 9, 2009

Ben Vase

Ben Vase
by Linda Starr

A couple of days ago, I posted my Clary Sage Vase, on Critique My Pot. Critique My Pot is a blog where ceramic artists can post their clay creations for a free critique from other ceramic artists. Yes, an absolutely free critique where other ceramic artists make comments about what they like about the ceramic piece submitted, or what could be improved or changed. I know you're probably thinking who wants a critique, even if it is free. Seriously, everyone is very kind and helpful. I actually love hearing what others think of my work because I learn so much and I can improve my work. I also appreciate the time others take out of their busy day to give me free advice. So, if you haven't been to Critique My Pot, please stop in for a visit and feel free to add your comments. If you'd like to submit a ceramic pot or sculpture for a free critique on the blog just let us know.

Ben Vase
top view

If you read Ben's comments about my Clary Sage Vase on Critique My Pot blog, you'll see why I named the vase shown above Ben Vase. Yes, Ben Vase, not bud vase. Ben, of Stark's Pots, suggested I make a vase showing more of how the slabs of clay were put together. I thanked Ben for his suggestions and said I had an idea for a more masculine styled vase. Meanwhile I was already collecting chicken wire, rope, bolts and other items I could use to decorate a vase. Without Ben's suggestions though, the Ben Vase would probably have looked completely different than it does above.

Ben Vase is made with porcelain clay, stands 8.25 inches tall, 12.25 inches wide, and the top opening is 4 inches at the widest point. The size and shape is really versatile since it fits on a narrow shelf, window sill, or ledge, and flowers placed inside will easily stand upright. Even kitchen utensils will fit in the Ben Vase nicely. I purposefully made the bottom of the vase larger, and then I folded the excess up against the pot. On the sides I used a bolt pressed into the clay. The background texture is made from chicken wire. I'm not sure if this is what Ben had in mind, but this vase is completely different than others I've made. Since I'm focusing on details, I've added some bolts impressions on the bottom of the vase beside my signature.

I had fun making the Ben Vase, but I feel like I'm still holding back. I hope to really let the clay fly next time, so check in again. Doesn't this rose from my garden have a luscious color.


  1. Very nice. I can't wait to see this piece after it's glazed and fired. Believe it or not, I was just thinking about doing something with the very same design.

  2. it is a pretty flower and a wonderful vase!

  3. I absolutely LOVE that vase! The best part about critiques is that you can take what people say about your work and incorporate it along with your own voice. If you made a vase on just what I said, it wouldn't be your vase (or nearly as good :) That is really going to be an awesome piece when finished!

    Thanks for plugging the critique blog. I'm going to post one of my jars on there as soon as I get it finished.

  4. Love this vase!!!! The bolt/washer deco works really well with the wired surface. Nice job.

    Another potter at the studio the other day used the tops of bat pins for impressions where a handle was attached. Gave a nice rivet-like appearance. Anything can be a clay tool.

  5. A vase that will sit on a windowsill is one that will be used often. The effect will be a wonderful juxtaposition of your colorful and fluffy roses and construction material textures. How will you glaze it?

  6. Hi Michele, thanks I do believe you thought of the same style, there are only so many shapes. I have made this shape before in a very large size but the glaze stuck ever so slightly to the kiln shelf and when someone knocked it off, it broke a chunk of the ceramic off. These larger vases are hard to get through the kiln without stress cracks at the seams on the bottom, (at least for me) we shall see.

    Hi Gary, thanks, I just love that flower. The vase was a lot of fun to make and I am thinking of making a silhouette chicken in front of chicken wire for another vase - one that is more humorous - something I know you would really appreciate.

    Hi Ben, thanks I was kind of scared to put something on Critique My Pot before but now I figure what the heck, I can always make something else. I also notice if don't make the piece I see it in a completely different frame of mind, and so I assume others do the same with my work, they can look at it more objectively.

    Hi Jerry, thanks so much, I have another idea of making a barbed wire fence vase and a wood fence vase - so many ideas and so little time.

  7. Hi Barbara, I am not sure about the glaze. With textured surfaces I have to be careful that the texture doesn't get covered by a dark or thick glaze. I also have another idea for a window sill vase that is flat at the back and curved in the front. I wish I knew of a gun metal grey glaze I could put on it. I only have some many glazes at the college and I never have time to test as we only have so many firing. I don't think a celadon would look good on this one unless it was a copper red celadon. Perhaps just a wash on the outside and a glaze on the inside to make it water tight.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment