daily forward tumble


the practice of being creative everyday

20th of November – a plate

November 20th, 2010 at 7:45

I think this will be my last post about the making of pottery piece with a utility value, you must be getting bored with these posts about bowls and mugs and cups. J asked me if I have intentions of exchanging all our crockery at home in the very near future. Hmm there is a thought, maybe I will.
Today I made a plate. Only one for now, thought if this is to become a useful piece of kitchen crockery I better make another one. My new technique of using something as a mould works the treat. Timing on this one is even more crucial than on the bowl I made before because the plate I used to make a plate from can only help to shape the new piece in one direction. I think I’ll go through the work process in detail to make my point.

  • I found a suitable plate and greased it up with something like vaseline, a thin film is perfect
  • I then rolled out a piece of clay to about 5 mm thick
  • and placed the clay sheet it into the plate,
  • smoothed out any thick areas by gently pushing the lumps out with my fingers and
  • cleaned off the edge by cutting it with knife.
  • I let it dry for a couple of hours and then
  • I experimented with some stone carving stamps but smudged the patterns out again
  • I let the piece dry out a little bit more, the image below  shows the very wet clay quite well and how it becomes smoother as it dries like along the very edge of the plate.
    • I then smoothed the inside surface of the clay plate by gently rubbing it with my fingertips
    • At this point I started checking to make sure the clay is not sticking to the mould, I lifted the edge of the clay away from the plate a little bit.
      I found I really needed to let the clay dry off a little bit more, enough so I could handle it a bit better to a point when it would retain at least some of it’s shape without collapsing.
    • Now this is where it got even trickier because to check if the clay was drying ok but not too much, I needed to loosen the clay away from the plate. So I kept checking to see if the clay was dry enough that it would come off without tearing.
    • I eventually got it out and then tried to turn the plate over. But when it was upside down it couldn’t hold it’s shape and started caving in the middle, so I put it back into the plate to try the same thing later
    • I had to leave it over night and put the whole thing into a plastic bag to stop it from drying out altogether.

    • The next day I tried taking it out again. When it stopped caving after I turned it out upside down I worked to smooth the outside surface with my fingertips and then put it back into the mould and let it dry again.
      I tended to repeatedly smooth the inside and try to keep a near enough perfect circle. I fiddled with it every couple of hours really.
    • Eventually when the clay had a consistency of tough leather I took it out of the mould plate and placed the clay piece on a wooden board. I then finished it off, trying to fix any unwanted dents or lumps and then let it dry. It’s still drying now, hence the dark colour.

    The spoon is a great tool to smooth the inner surface and it also shows the size of the plate giving the photo some kind of scale.

    There you go, I can only encourage anyone who is thinking of trying this themselves to have a go. It’s a lot of fun and really easy if you have a bit of time on your hands.

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    4 Responses to “20th of November – a plate”

    1. Gumnut Says:

      This is a really interesting technique and the result has real character. Thanks so much for sharing.

      (via AEDM)

    2. Kelly Says:

      Well done! It looks like you had lots of fun!

    3. b Says:

      Very nice and thanks for explaining your process. Interesting…

    4. anne Says:

      I can’t wait to see how this turns out. I can imagine how hard it must be to keep the plate perfectly round and juggle the not-too-wet-not-too-dry. Looks great so far!

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