Clay is one of the most versatile mediums in an artists tool box. Clay is able to be shaped and formed into whatever an artist wishes. With all of the types of clay available today, there are some things that you would need to consider before you start your project. Polymer clay should not be used for any eating, drinking or serving dishes. The polymer clay is too porous and can harbor harmful bacteria that can infect the next food item you put into that dish. For making a bowl, you can choose porcelain, earthenware or stoneware clay.
Clay (porcelain, earthenware and stoneware are all good options)
Cup of water
Cover the work surface with newspaper to protect surfaces from the clay. You need a sturdy and flat area to work with.
Work the ball of clay with your hands until the clay is manageable and to remove air bubbles. As you work with the clay, you can dip your fingers into the cup of water if it begins to dry out. Begin to mold the bowl by rolling the clay into a ball.
Press the center with your thumb. Then, use your thumb and first finger to pinch the clay into the desired shape. Keep your thumb inside the bowl and your first finger outside, the shape of your thumb will make a curve inside the bowl. You can press leaves or your fingers into the bowl to give patterns or textures into the bowl.
Allow the piece to dry overnight and then fire the clay in a kiln. The process of firing will harden the clay and then you can glaze the bowl. The kiln will reach temperatures up to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. The exact temperature and time that the firing will take depends on the clay you choose.
Allow the bowl to cool and glaze to the desired color. The most common way to do this is with a paint brush and your chosen glaze. Glaze is a thin coat of glass that protects and seals the piece while producing a color or effect. Different types of clay require a different glaze, as different types of clay are fired at different temperatures. Fire the piece again.
This will set the glaze and protect the piece from eating and washing. Check the instructions on the glaze for firing temperatures and times.
DLTK-Teach: Make a Clay Bowl http://www.dltk-teach.com/fables/stonesoup/mbowl.htm
Skutt: Clay Coil http://www.skutt.com/lesson_plans/hand_built.pdf
LearnNC: Make Your Own Cereal Bowl http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/1905
PolymerClayWeb: Polymer Clay – Safety Issues http://www.polymerclayweb.com/safety.asp
Infoplease: Clay and Pottery http://www.infoplease.com/spot/clay.html
India-Crafts: Pottery Bowl http://www.india-crafts.com/articles/pottery-bowl.htm
Pottery-Magic: Clay Pottery Craft Projects http://www.pottery-magic.com/pottery/clay_projects/pinch-pot.htm