Today I spent about 5 hours or so in the studio – how time flies!
First I finished up a couple of pieces that I had made last weekend, trimming scrappy edges and generally finessing the surface. They’re bone dry so I used a brush and a little water just to smooth out imperfections. I’m fairly pleased with these, they’re a nice weight and shape – they’re ready to be fired.
Then I started on a handbuilt jug. My mother-in-law had asked for a jug for her birthday so I volunteered to make one. This one was using a template I’d made a while back, which has seen quite a bit of use – it makes a jug about 22cm high on a 10cm wide base. Today I decided to invert the cone so the top is narrower than the base.
Having rolled the slabs to make the jug I left them to harden up a bit and did some throwing. When I came back to the slabs after a couple of hours there was enough strength in the clay to stand up unsupported. I added a bit of surface texture with a roller – the grid and the shape made the inverted cone look a bit like a dalek so I had the idea to add the buttons where the slab joined. It was pretty hard to put in a fillet to join the base to the sides but I persevered and that seemed to come off OK – we’ll see how successful I was when it’s fired.
I tried several handles, more or less (mostly less) successfully – I let them dry in the wrong shape and when I came to attach them they broke into pieces. The one that I wound up with is pulled and then trimmed, and I used a hair-dryer to harden it up a little before attaching it.
The buttons were initially without the 4 holes in the centre, but I added them and it really finished the piece off. Whether this jug is the one to be given away as a present or not remains to be seen.
Lastly, I spent quite some time throwing. The clay was really hard today and I had to work very hard to get the clay centred at all. At least 1 piece I didn’t manage at all.
The larger bowl below was about 2.5kg of clay and centring it was REALLY hard. A bit of muscle and it was done, though. Someone in the studio game me some great advice, which was to slow the wheel right down – I think all this time I’ve been turning the clay too quickly. That made a huge difference to pulling a wall, and on the 2.5kg lump I was able to pull a pretty straight wall pretty quickly. The bowl that resulted is a bit wonky, though, I wound up making the bottom a bit thin and uncentering it by accident.
The little vase suffers from the same issue – it started centred but finished up off-centre.
I was tempted to trash them both, but kept them for a bit of throwing practice. I can’t imagine either will get fired.