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Coil Pots. Types of Pottery. Methods of forming pottery : Hand-shaping was the earliest method used to form vessels. This included the combination of pinching and coiling.

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coil pots

Coil Pots

types of pottery
Types of Pottery
  • Methods of forming pottery: Hand-shapingwas the earliest method used to form vessels. This included the combination of pinching and coiling.
  • Using the coiling technique, it is possible to build thicker or taller walled vessels, which may not have been possible using pinch pot methods. The technique permits control of the walls as they are built up and allows building on top of the walls to make the vessel look bigger and bulge outward or narrow inward with less danger of collapsing.
coiling pots based on the past
Coiling Pots Based on the Past
  • The ancient technique of building a coiled pot involves squeezing, squashing and smoothing the successive layers of coils into a thin even wall which swells or tapers as it grows and encloses a shape.
  • To do this you need to turn the pot around slowly as you work. Early potters soon learned to make the task of periodically turning the pot much easier and more efficient by beginning their coiling on a dish or bowl, or even a flat plate or smooth platter they could twist round as they worked.
  • Most early coiled pots are round bottomed. They were probably started in a bowl which could be easily turned or rolled around whilst adding and smoothing the clay coils.
examples of ancient coil pottery
Examples of Ancient Coil Pottery

Smoothed on the inside only

Smoothed inside and outside


How to Make a Coiled Pot, Part 1


How to Make a Coiled Pot, Part 2

Use a bit of Cooking Spray on the bottom of the base pot instead of WD-40. It does not take much….use it sparingly.


How to Make a Coiled Pot, Part 3


How to Make a Coiled Pot, Part 4


Taking a Break

Coiled forms can take more time to create than we have in one sitting. When you have to leave your work while it is in progress, place damp paper towels across the top row. Cover the entire piece with plastic.

If you should need the bottom of the pot to stiffen slightly, leave some gaps where the plastic meets the table or shelf. Otherwise, tuck the plastic under the support surface. If the humidity is high, add a layer of newspaper or cloth in between the pot and the plastic. This will absorb any condensation, which could otherwise make your pot collapse.



Definition: Wax Resist (noun) is a waxy substance used to prevent slips or glazes from adhering onto the clay body or a prior coating of slip, etc.

A resist is especially helpful in keeping glaze from adhering to a pot's base, and in the case of a lidded jar, from keeping the areas the lid and the jar meet free from glaze.

In the past, wax resists where simply melted wax; today there are a number of wax emulsions, including many which are water-based.

Wax resist can also used in decoration. The resist can be used both under or over underglazes, glazes, and slips to create designs.

After wax is applied, it is cut away before glazing to keep some of the pot natural

Bowl with wax resist design

Resist on the bottom on the pot


Coiled Pots Quiz Name_______________________________

  • One reason to use coiling technique is: A. thicker and taller walls B. it is an old method C. thin walls D. it was never used in ancient times
  • When starting a coiled pot it is best: A. to roll all the clay strips (snakes) B. use a bowl as a prop C. wash your hands D. eat a snack
  • If you run out of time in class and your pot is not done: A. give up B. ask for a pass for PE C. cover the pot with plastic and damp paper D. Throw the pot away
  • One way to keep the pot even is: A. sing a song B. talk to a neighbor C. cut away the snakes if not needed D. turn the pot as you work
  • What part of the finished pot can you smooth when it is still damp? A. inside B. outside C. top side D. no sides

Coiled Pot Student Evaluation


Dated ________________

  • DESIGN 10 9 8 7 6 5 Other
  • CONSTRUCTION 10 9 8 7 6 5 Other
  • CRAFTSMANSHIP 10 9 8 7 6 5 Other
  • PATTERNS/TEXTURES 10 9 8 7 6 5 Other
  • GLAZING 10 9 8 7 6 5 Other
  • One aspect about this project that I learned