Thursday, April 20, 2017

Not Remotely Pottery Related, but

,,,I made a new t-shirt! I took the photo last summer while delivering ware to Handworks, a gallery in Blue Hill, Maine. Doug came with me and we decided to make a day of it.

We visited Blue Hill Falls, which changes direction when the tide comes in or goes out. So cool! We waded in the gelid water and made a remarkable discovery: starfish come in colors! Beautiful, jewel-tone colors. There were masses of them, but I just couldn't capture the colors with the underwater shots; but I did get this small grouping on a rock that the departing tide had just uncovered. On the way back we stopped for lobster rolls at a little roadside stand. It was a great day.

So, I made a t-shirt commemorating my very Maine day. You can get it on a tank or a tote, too! Check it out here.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Pop Quiz!

This is for the clay students reading this blog. I know you are out there!

My upside down plates have come out of the bisque, and guess what? One of them cracked pretty spectacularly. I sort of thought it might. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to why the one cracked and the other didn't?

Turn your computer upside down for the answer!

Actually, there's a bit more after the break.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Upside Down Plates

Potters, in my experience, are generous folks. One of the joys of teaching in a communal studio like Portland Pottery is learning from my fellow potters. It's a regular even to see something wonderful and ask the maker to share it.

Last week I learned from Brian Buckland how to make these upside-down plates, with undulating lines from a twisty cut-off wire. Brian learned it from Tyler Gulden, and so on and so on, it's turtles all the way down.

It's also a joy to be the one sharing!

Here are the steps, pictorally:
Center a three pound hump low & wide, as if you were throwing a regular plate
Throw a foot ring
With a wooden rib, make a deep undercut - about a half-inch 

Cut of plate from the bat with a twisty wire, but leave it on the bat. You can cut straight or not, depending on the pattern you want. 

Place a second bat on the foot ring. Line up the pin holes to get the plate as close to the center of the second bat as you can. 
Flip the plate between the two bats, like a clay sandwich
I couldn't get a good picture of the next bit, but you have to reach between the bats and get your fingertips (gently!) into the undercut, and peel the plate off the first bat. Be very careful , as it's easy to mess up the rim. This bit takes some patience, and some practice.

Even if you are very careful, it will look like crap when it first comes off the bat. Don't worry! It's supposed to.
See? Looks like crap. 
It should be pretty close to center, because you lined up the two bats pretty well, but make whatever adjustments necessary to get it as close as you can now that it's unstuck. Now you are going to snap the bat back on the wheel, and with a sponge, persuade the wall to come up until it is shaped like a plate or shallow bowl:
Optionally, you can trim out some of the center. This is probably a good idea so you can compress the center - I am a little worried that the ones I didn't trim out will crack.

If you are really, really good, your plate might be done! Mine all needed trimming underneath after they'd dried to leatherhard.
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