Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sponges Sponges Sponges

As a potter, I have to admit, I have weird relationship with sponges. Still trying to find the perfect one and it is just never satisfactory. Here are the pictures of some that I use and some that were rejected at first use. Would love to hear your insights.

Firstly, the standard yellow sponge. They come round, but are too big and hold a lot of water. So I cut them. Inexpensive but especially after cutting them I need to watch out for the yellow bits in my clay while throwing. Though this does make a good cleaning sponge for wiping off glaze from the bottom of pots while galzing.


The elephant ear sponge. These I like. Can hold a lot or little water depending on how much you squeeze out. They are on the expensive side. They do last longer though. But $5 for sponge.. I don't think so...



This is some sort of elephant sponge which I used once and never used again. It is flat and doesn't absorb any water. Nothing good to say about this one other than its shape and size.


Then there is the mudtools sponge. It is cut in half and has been used quite a bit. Holds decent amount of water but I find it very textured. Pricey too.. $6 I think.


One of my favorites... from the Dollar store. I get four big rectangle sponges for a Dollar. And I make 5 sponges from each of them. So that is 20 sponges for a dollar. They don't feel great on first use, but after that they become flat (picture on the right) and hold just the right amount of water. Surprisingly they last longer too.


This is my recent find. Cosmetic sponges. They are cut to the perfect size and shape that I need. Hold perfect amount of water. I think I paid $3 for 20 sponges in a bag. They are great for cleaning up glazes in tight corners too like lid galleries. Let's see how long this affair lasts.


I would love to hear about your tools and what works for you. Post away!

8 comments:

Monica Lasich Vincent said...

I've used all that you mention..never tried throwing with a cosmetic sponge yet...

Monica Lasich Vincent said...

I've tried all that you mention. Hate elephant ear sponges. Love sea sponges for painting...haven't tried cosmetic sponges for throwing yet..love the mudtools sponge, but yes, leaves marks. What about your chamois?

CreativewithClay: Charan Sachar said...

Don't get me started on chamois... that is another topic. LOL!

Denise said...

The natural sponges are expensive because they have been harvested to nearly extinction in some places. I keep mine for years. Also agree on the flat elephant ear sponge, I use mine for small cleanups. I know where I can get cosmetic ones cheap! Thanks for the tip!

LAS Pottery said...

Oh, I have not tried to throw with the dollar store sponges, I do use to clean up. And how many years do you think it will take before those elephant ears will get soft enough to use!! Great tips!

John Sheiman said...

your work is absolutely beautiful. you inspired me to make an altered teapot of my own. your work has taken on a form and attitude of its own-- I've never seen any ceramics work like this before. love your stuff--- keep it up!

Brian said...

I used to use the round ones, but they seemed to fall apart too fast. Now I use a combination. I use a cheap dish type sponge cut in half for centering, and other rough work and cleanup. I use a mudtools sponge for pulling and shaping, and chamois for rims.

Jarita's Creations said...

Hi, Charan,
One of my favorite tools is actually a soft paintbrush. As I am handbuilding primarily from slabs, I assemble and smooth with a variety of tools ranging from a piece of driftwood that makes an excellent textured paddle to a smooth forged metal tool that gets into tiny spaces very well. And, of course, I use my hands and fingers! Then, when I am adding my sculptural leaves, I utilize a small, soft paintbrush with just a little slurry and my forged metal tool to firmly, yet naturally attach the delicate leaves. I then rinse my paintbrush and gently smooth the edges a little more. While building my artwork, I don't use a sponge hardly at all. I enjoy creating artwork with a soft, natural feel. I am very careful to protect and emphasize the fine details and veins of the leaves along with the texture of the wood grains and lace. My little paintbrush is a great tool in that effort.

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