Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Making a Pinch Pot

This bowl was made by pinching with my hands from a square lump of clay. This time I used twice as much clay as I normally do just to see if I could pinch that much.

I pound this rectangular block of clay with the palm of my hands around and around to form a large rounded edge square. Click this link to see another description of how I've made a smaller pinch bowl.

I insert my thumb in the center and push down almost to the bottom to form the initial rough interior. At this point the bowl is thick and heavy on the bottom and the sides.

I start smoothing with my thumb in the inside and my fingers on the outside supporting the outside as I go with my other hand. This particular clay has a long working time so I don't have to worry about the bowl drying out while I work. Using other clays I might have to use a slightly damp sponge to moisten and smooth any surface cracking.

Little by little I work the clay at the bottom up to the top circling around the piece of clay as I go.

Sometimes I use my fingers to pull the clay slowly up to the top and smooth the inside of the bowl.

Slowly but surely the lump of clay starts to take the shape of a bowl.

Using my fingers as a gauge, I can feel how thin to make the sides and bottom of the bowl. I leave the rim of the bowl thick till the very end. This protects the edge from stretching out too much and ripping or cracking.

The bowl is almost thin enough. If I make it too thin I'll poke through the sides of the bowl. At the very end I tap all around the edge of the rim of the bowl to strengthen it. Then I smooth it back up to the same thickness as the rest of the bowl.

I had planned to make a pinched yarn bowl. In the end I just couldn't put a hole in this pinched bowl which is seven inches across and four inches high. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Hello Linda:
    'Pinch Pot' - what a wonderful name to give to a bowl and how fascinating to follow the steps you give as to how such a piece is made. It is amazing to us that, from such a solid lump of clay, something as fine can be produced.

  2. Looking good. Simple and lovely.

  3. That's a good size pinch pot... I don't think I have ever made one that large.

  4. What a nice bowl. It looks so easy when you do it, but I tried and it did not work well.


  5. Those are some really nicely detailed instructions. I will refer students to this blog post if they want to make pinch pots. Thanks

  6. I always learn something new when I drop by for tea. I'd never heard of a pinch pot (or however one calls what turns out so beautifully). Really enjoyed the photos.

  7. Ouch! It makes my hands hurt to think of all that work. Glad you're still able to do that.

  8. WOW. And my hands hurt, too. What you can do, just to see if you can do it.

  9. That was fascinating. I'm not sure that my hands would be up to the job, they ached just reading about it, I wouldn't mind giving it a go though!

  10. Somehow I can see our ancestors doing that very thing.
    Nice tutorial

  11. Great bowl and pics! Enjoyed the tutorial and I imagine that your hands are very muscular from using them so much. Have a wonderful week, cher!

  12. Hey! Niceee... and very helpful pinching instruction! My regards ;)

  13. Hi Jane and Lance, thanks, pinch comes from pinching the clay between your fingers. Of course I didn't invent that name.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, something wonderful about the simple forms.

    Hi Michele, thanks, not sure I could do it again. Perhaps that's another personal challenge.

    Hi Elna, thanks, well I have had a lot of practice on pinch pots; my first ones were lumpy and thick.

    Hi Lori, thanks, have them check out the link within the post too it shows more photos on pinching.

    Hi Kittie, thanks, this is the way many ancient peoples would make clay pots, by pinching.

    Hi Ms. Sparrow, thanks, the exercise helps keep my grip strong.

    Hi Joanne, thanks, doesn't hurt to try for sure.

    Hi Elaine, thanks, one time some guys were working on an irrigation ditch and they grabbed some clay and made a little sculpture of a man and set it on the concrete dam, you never know what you can do with clay.

    Hi Patti, thanks, yes sitting beside a stream and making pots, the simple life.

    Hi Marguerite, thanks, actually my hands are a little sore today, I must remember to do pinch pots at least once a week to keep in shape.

    Hi Katarina, thanks, hopefully someone can benefit from the post, I've learned a lot on the blogs myself.


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