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Slab-Built Pots. Slab-Building, Ancient to Modern. Slab-building techniques were used extensively by Mesoamerican Pre-Columbian potters , with some beautiful results.

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Slab built pots

Slab-Built Pots

Slab building ancient to modern
Slab-Building, Ancient to Modern

  • Slab-building techniques were used extensively by Mesoamerican Pre-Columbian potters, with some beautiful results.

  • Other than these potters, though, slab pots were only very minor players in the hand-building playing field of other ancient cultures across the globe.

  • Today, slab pots and slab-building techniques are experiencing a new popularity.

  • Modern potters and ceramic sculptors have embraced the slab, creating works using both soft slabs and stiff leather-hard slabs.

Slab built pots1
Slab Built Pots

Notice the noticed lid to fit properly on the box

Slab box assignment made simple
Slab Box Assignment Made Simple


  • You will use a ruler to precisely measure your sides

  • All corners must be square, use score and slip as well as “snake” at seams

  • Designs can be imprinted before the drying process

  • Cut out is done before the construction when the clay is leather-hard

  • Do not use a hairdryer….we will wrap in plastic and wet towel to get to leather-hard state

Stiff slab construction
Stiff-Slab Construction

  • The stiff-slab method is more appropriate for architectural and geometric forms. The slab is rolled then allowed to slowly dry to leather-hard stage before being cut and joined with other stiffened slabs to create the form.

  • Cutting away should occur before construction.

  • Adding feet to a stiff-slab pot is best done after the construction. Use score and slip method.

  • Lids can be made from a complete (six sided) box by using the potter’s needle or using wire.

  • Wax resist the bottom of the box before final firing

Slab built box quiz name
Slab-Built Box Quiz Name________________________

  • Where was slab building used largely in ancient times? A. Egypt B. India C. Mesoamerica D. Target Stores

  • Can the slabs be hand rolled instead of using the slab roller? A. yes B. no C. only on rainy days D. never

  • When can you carve or cut the sides to your box? A. before slabbing B. once the pot is put together C. when the slab is leather-hard and before construction D. after the bisque fire

  • What is score and slip? A. a new type of pizza B. making grooves on wet/leather hard clay and using the slip as a glue C. a baseball term D. none of the above

  • What tool must be used to make the sides equal length? A. ruler B. potter’s tool C. book D. stapler

  • A glaze is: A. applied after the bisque fire B. a chemical C. adds color or protection to a pot D. all of the above

  • How is wax resist used: A. for crayon drawings B. never as a decorative property C. to remove unwanted hair D. keep glaze from the bottom of a pot

  • What is leather hard? A. a Marine term B. point where clay is hard but not dry C. used to make saddles D. last stage in pottery making

  • Cone 06 is the firing level for: A. glazes only B. first fire C. last fire D. never used

  • If you run out of time in class and your pot is not done: A. ask for a pass for PE B. cover the pot with plastic and damp paper C. Throw the pot away D. give up

Slab built pots

Slab-Built Box 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


  • Did you wax resist the bottom of the pots to keep glaze from the shelf? YES NO

  • Was this a project you would consider revising for your final? YES NO