What is the Slab Building Method?
Slab building involves creating forms by joining flat pieces of clay together. With this technique, a potter uses a rolling pin or a slab roller to create even sheets of clay, which are then cut into shapes and can be joined together to create a three-dimensional form.
Slab building allows potters to create forms with flat surfaces and sharp angles, such as boxes or rectangular vases, that are difficult or impossible to make using other techniques like coiling or throwing on the wheel. It also allows for more precise measurements and more consistent results, making it a popular technique for creating sets of objects, like dishes or cups.
To start, a potter will roll out a sheet of clay to a desired thickness, usually around a quarter inch or so. Then, using templates or freehand cutting, they cut out the shapes they need for the various parts of the form, such as the base, sides, and lid. Once the pieces have been cut, a potter uses a damp sponge or brush to score and add slip (a mixture of clay and water) to the edges that will be joined together. They then press the edges together firmly, smoothing out any visible seams.
Slab building is versatile and can be used to create both functional and decorative pieces, and it's a great technique for potters of all skill levels to try.