Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Throwing a Bottle on the Potter's Wheel

Today I am showing a YouTube video of me throwing a bottle on the wheel.

In throwing a bottle on the potter's wheel, many challenges can be incurred in the process.  For instance, as seen in the video above, buckling can occur while you are bring the cylinder from being wide to very narrow.  The most important thing when throwing a bottle is to not lose your cool and stay calm.  If you are throwing a bottle and notice that the clay is buckling, slow down the wheel and start a pull at the base of the neck to straighten it back out, using a throwing stick can aid in this.  

Bottles can be some of the most fun and challenging form to throw on the wheel.  In the coming weeks I will be uploading another video showing how I create my signature twisted bottle.

Thanks for reading
-Mark Barta

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Throwing on the Wheel

Blog number two, here we go.  In todays blog I have decided to show some footage of me throwing.  In this video I will be throwing a large bowl that can be both functional and decorative, I hope you enjoy!

In addition to today's video, I have also decided to update my blog more regularly.  With the exception of this Sunday, I will still be showcasing new pieces of work on Sunday's and talking about the form and function, but I will be also now be posting a blog on Tuesday nights showcasing some throwing through a video on Youtube!

Above, is an example of a finished bowl I have made recently.  When making bowls, many conscious decisions have to be made both during the actual throwing and the finishing (glazing).  For example, in the video above, you will notice that much attention is paid towards the rim.  As the rim is the main portion of the bowl that the intended user will touch, it is important for it to be smooth so that it will feel good when the user handles it.  Also, like any piece,  the rim of a bowl is a finishing point for a piece, so it is best to have a good finish point to end the profile.

Another conscious decision that must be made when designing a bowl is the glaze used.  Whether the finished piece is supposed to be for functional or decorative from the potter's eye, one must remember that the buyer of the piece may use it for either.  With that in mind, when glazing the bisque piece, I prefer to use glazes that are non-toxic and labeled dinnerware safe.  This information can usually be located on the glaze bottle itself, if this information is not on the bottle, a quick check to the manufacturer's website usually will reveal this information.  If in doubt, don't use it.

Thanks for reading!
-Mark Barta

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Welcome to Twisted Top Pottery

Welcome to Twisted Top Pottery!  As this is my first post, I would like to formally introduce myself, my name is Mark Barta, I currently reside in Kansas City, KS, and I have been practicing ceramics for the past 10 years.  I first fell in love with wheel throwing in High School where I took as many ceramics classes as I could.  I later studied Ceramics in college at Kansas State University under the direction of Yoshiro Ikeda.  

I mainly create pottery on the wheel and create both functional and sculptural works.  The name Twisted Top Pottery comes from my take on the bottle form, I throw a bottle shape on the wheel and then alter the top of the form to bring movement and flow to the piece.  I recently have completed work on my own studio in the basement of my house and am excited to be creating works of art in my new studio.  

My goals for this blog are to share my pieces of ceramic art with the World, gain valuable feedback on my pieces to further grow in my artist direction, and to share tips and techniques I have learned over the years of study.  I usually create wheel thrown pieces throughout the week and fire over the weekend every other weekend.  I will update this blog on Sunday's in the afternoon with either pieces of work or ceramic related content, sometimes both.  

Displayed to the left is my first piece that I would like to share.  This piece is an example of my signature Twisted Top Bottle form, it is glazed with Spectrum's Low Fire Burnt Sugar and Mayco's Copper Adventurine, with accents of Mayco's Magic Flow glaze.  

The circle followed by a trail of copper is a decorative mark I am currently working and is in it's early stages, I will be working to evolve this decorative mark over the next few weeks.  

Thanks for checking out my first of many blogs!  
    - Mark Barta