Layer by layer, a patchwork vessel is created with small slabs that have been carefully overlapped and sealed together. I enjoy using this method now and then, usually on tall cylindrical, or rounded vessels, such as the piece above.
When using this technique, each small slab can be roughly the same shape, size and texture, or they may be different, depending on the desired results. The form above was made from canvas-textured slabs with torn edges, and of varying sizes and shapes. I've sometimes used clay stamps to give each small slab a different appearance, and the result is reminiscent of a patchwork quilt. (image below)
The image at left is a bowl by French artist, Fanny Laugier, who uses porcelain as her medium. What most interests me about this particular piece is the way gaps are left between the clay strips,
highlighting the delicate construction of the form.
You can see quite a few additional images on her website:
Also building with clay slabs is Dutch artist, Judith De Vries. (image at left) Her pieces have a strikingly different appearance from those above, since she uses colored clay in her work. Her
vessels are brightly colored, composed of many layers of hand-stained clay, which have been sliced into thin slabs.
For more information about her building process, check out her website: http://www.judithdevries.com/
Finally, at left is a variation on this hand-building technique, a woven bowl by River Hill Pottery. Using the same approach as in basket-weaving, these long strips of clay are woven together in
a pleasing pattern.
I've seen so many other wonderful examples of small slabs used in creative ways. Pinterest is one of the best places to find them. If you're not already on Pinterest, I recommend checking it out.