Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of this thesis was to explore the possibilities of the trapped air technique in creating ceramic forms. The trapped air technique grew out of the writer's experimentation with the various existing hand- built techniques. It was discovered that by trapping air inside a closed, thin-walled ball of clay the air would support the form while it was being created. The support provided by the trapped air helps eliminate the age old problem of unfinished forms collapsing as a result of poor construction or from being too wet. The unique forms that result from the trapped air technique are believed, by the author, to be the most important contribution made by the method. The forms proceed naturally from the very nature of the method. These forms are very soft, gently flowing from one area of the piece to another. They are asymmetrical which adds variety, yet they contain the unity that is necessary to make a pleasing form. Various clay bodies were used, Pittsburgh clay and stoneware #5 most frequently. Stoneware #5, which is a mixture of 50% stoneware, 40% fire clay, and 10% kaolin, proved the best, as it can be fired at stoneware temperatures or may be used as a low fire body. Glazing was not the primary problem of this study; however, the finish which is given a piece should enhance it. Experiments were made until the glazes fit the nature of the forms that result from the trapped air technique. The artist believes this technique holds unlimited possibilities for the ceramist, and only through experimentation with forms, materials, and techniques may one hope to discover and contribute knowledge to the field of ceramics.


Dr. Joel C. Moss

Date of Award

Summer 1963

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1963 Jon Hartman


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