Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


One of the distinguishing characteristics of wheel-thrown pottery is the horizontal surface banding left by the potter's hand as he shapes the turning clay. Creating variations of this surface is the primary purpose of this thesis. The properties of the clay and the finishing glazes or stains offer unlimited resources for possible surface changes. Because of the vast possibilities which could consume a lifetime study, the writer has chosen to undertake only that portion of the variable that was most personal and intriguing. This was the entity of incising into the clay, both during and after forming. The intention of the writer was to create a form in which harmony of line, mass and surface reveals the significance of the object. For the purpose of this study, incising refers to cutting, carving and impressing clay to cause depressions. The pliability of the wet clay lends itself to incising. An act of this kind is relevant to the natural characteristics of clay. The incised line created an intaglio effect in pictorial design. Repeated linear penetrations in the clay were used to produce a textured peripheral pattern. On other forms clay exteriors were carved to produce low-relief patterns. The aesthetic decision which determined the change in the surface and the incising of line, texture and design shape was dictated by personal feelings toward the ceramic form involved. Surface incisings were devised and adapted to a particular form. In creating some studies, a surface design provided a means for deriving a specific shape. The direction of the surface variation was at times suggested by the turning of the vessel during the forming process. In other instances, the function of the pottery was instrumental in deciding the appropriate rendering of the surface. Another device available to the potter in ornamentation is that of glazing. The variables of colorants and finishes were used in conjunction with the surface changes. Glazes and stains were used to intensify the effect of the variations. To further enhance the effect, the glazes were applied so they would either collect in the depressions or on the remaining surface areas. Sgraffito effects were achieved by cutting through a previously applied clay slip. In all cases the application of the glaze was dictated by the incised line to create an agreeable relationship between the glaze and the incised area.


Dr. Joel C. Moss

Date of Award

Summer 1966

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1966 Roger N. Hinz


For questions contact

Off Campus FHSU Users Click Here