Thursday, February 13, 2020

Leatherhard pots, my favorite time to handle the pottery!

For me, the best time (and most efficient, as well) to handle pots is when they are 'leather-hard' (some people call it the cheese-hard) phase.  Enough of the water has evaporated from the body of the pot, yet the clay is still not to the dry stage. I can stick a fingernail into the surface, or, more importantly, I can smooth, with firm pressure from my fingers, any areas which will be rough after the bisque firing.
smoothing around the handle
 I really like to handle the pots at this time.  There is something about the cool, smooth surface It is firm, but responsive, and not dry or scratchy.  And it is when I make sure that all defects are fixed before the next stages.  Here are some mug forms, --being made for an order---, in two of the stages.

the foot, trimmed
A tray of finished, leather-hard mugs

  The first few photos show the leather-hard stage which is the final wet stage.  The last is a photo of the thrown forms, having dried overnight under a plastic wrap, now continuing to firm up so that the bottoms can be trimmed. 
mugs drying out so that the feet may be trimmed

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Winter Vases

a vase for winter flowers
Vase shapes have a variety of requirements:  they can't leak water onto the grand piano; they shouldn't tip over; they should show off the flowers in a way that doesn't overwhelm.  My thoughts for this form were along the lines of displaying an arm full of chicory in bloom, along with the queen Anne's lace that blooms in the same ditch along the roadside in August.  Our vegetable garden has lots of French chicory, planted by our son about twenty years ago.  Its ephemeral blue blossoms are a rare blue during the yellow summer. 

The larger vases are thrown in parts, with the first section removed from the wheel so that it can be footed before the more delicate top areas
are added.

 Handles are added last. 

Then, after the group is finished and photographed, I begin to pick out the aspects I felt worked well, so I can make more, and build on what I've learned.