Ceramic - Pottery Dictionary

by Susan Mussi



Jar mills are for grinding minerals, oxides, glazes, colors, etc. It is a round, porcelain tub, which can have a door or lid that must be watertight when closed. The jar holds pebbles or prepared ceramic balls, the materials to be ground and water, leaving enough space for the pebbles to fall continuously on to the products being ground when the jar rotates. There are many types and makes and at one time, when a potter had to prepare everything himself, they were a must, but now they are mainly used industrially.

ca: POTS


Jars can be made of glass, earthenware and plastic, are usually cylindrical with a broad mouth, can be with or without a lid and are used to hold everything, brushes, colors, water and powders, flowers, etc. A jar and a vase are the same except a jar can have a lid and is used for packable purposes and a vase is more elegant and decorative.

The following are connected to jars an pots.
This the first group is on decorating jars and all the different sections, some have more than one, are conected in the order of working, right through the dictionary. The following is the first: Bisque Sounding plates, jars and lids

Read more about jars: Brushes cleaning, / Jars for storing colors as powder, liquid and to use / Jars with water for cleaning brushes / Pots with colors to use / Flowerpot

ca: GERROS - Tornejats en ceràmica.

es: JARRONES - Torneados en cerámica.

Click on the title to see more images

Turning a jar: Once the clay has been centered and coned into the basic shape needed, place your fingers round the outside and thumbs on the top and press them downwards to open and widen the mouth leaving the foot about 2cm. in thickness.

When the center is opened make it taller and wider with one hand supporting it on the outside against the pressure from the other inside. Repeat this movement as many times as needed to stretch the clay as much as possible maintaining the shape of a cylinder.

To make this spherical shape, push the inside out with the pressure from one hand and with the other, control from the outside forming the shape you desire, leaving it narrower at the top for the neck.

The neck can be cut down with a saw blade to the height required, then with a kidney of metal or wood level and smooth off the outside, remove all the marks left by the fingers and any excessive slip. Finally with a cutting wire separate the jar from the wheel.

The following photos go through the process of throwing a jar and they are Núria Pié working in her studio. Link to author – Nuria Pié

Note: These are links to all the sections on throwing in alphabetical order.
Bowl Throwing / Cylinder Throwing / Jars Throwing / Lids (c) Throwing / Lids (d) Throwing Cones / Lids Knobs (f) Attached / Plate Throwing / Stack – Throwing / Teapot (a) Body / Throwing – with a tube

ca: BIJUTERIA - d’argila

es: BISUTERÍA - de arcilla

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Beads can be made of different products, valuable stones, metal, wood or anything round you can bore a hole through. Ceramic beads have been developed through thousands of years and have been used in many different ways, body decoration and methods for calculating and also for religious prayers. They are made in clay, fired and decorated using different methods. A bead is usually round, but can be any shape on the outside and always has a hole through the middle big enough to pass a cord through the center, so it can be hung up.

Photographs lent by Caren Shiloh

The first shows 18th century beads decorated with the Majolica method and the last two, forming them in clay.

ca: TORNEJAR AMB PLANTILLA - Interior i exterior

es: TORNEAR A TERRAJA - Interior e exterior

a) Template. b) Clay. c) Mold. d) Wheel

Jiggering is a method to form the outside of a plate and jollying the inside. There is a fixed, unmovable arm that holds a template. A template is half the profile of the piece being made and is cut out in a strong, thin material like plastic, wood or metal. The mold shaping the inside or outside is on a wheel and covered by a flat piece of clay. The wheel is rotated and the template held by the jolly against the clay shapes it by scraping off the unnecessary clay as it turns.Read more about: Card plate
Link to videdo Jiggering



Jugs are utensils to hold, carry and pour liquid and can be made of different materials. They always have a lip to direct the liquid while pouring it out. Usually the lip and the handle are in line and on opposite sides, but they can be at 90º to each other. A jug can also be without a handle and is then held by the neck or the main body. To make a jug by turning is basically the same as a vase but it has a lip and can be with or without a handle.
Read more about: Handles / Handles – Loops / Handles – Lug attached / Handles – Lug pulled

ca: GERRA Mesuradora

es: JARRA Medidora

Jugs for measwuring are industrially made in plastic or glass for measuring different substances, liquids, sugar etc. The height of the weight or the quantity of liquid that a product takes is marked on to the outside of it. In other words if ½ a kilo of sugar fills up 8 cm in the jug, this height is marked onto the jug. It can then be used for measuring quickly and roughly.