This is just a quick wee post for this week. With everybody either starting on the wheel or continuing on the wheel I thought it would be good to just run over a check list for throwing and introduce the idea of ‘sets’.
If you are coming to class to throw you will need to bring a solid flat porous board to take your items home on. You will also need an ice-cream container to put your scrap and slurge in as you are throwing. This way you minimize how much clay is going into the water bucket and you can recycle it later. When you sit down to throw use a clean container of water next to your own slurge container. You will also need a towel and an apron that is going to get really messy. If you use one of my class aprons you will need to take it home and clean it…do this by hanging it on the line and spraying down with a hose before it goes into a washing machine…clay and washing machines are not friends! Remember to bring it back!
So what you need to sit down with is…
- 3-4 well kneaded, round balls of appx 400gm balls of soft clay.
- Your own slurge container
- A sponge
- A cutting wire
- A scary trimming tool
- A metal flexible rib of death (optional)
- Your carrying home board
- Apron and towel
The ideal steps for throwing to remember are as follows.
- Centre the clay
- Open the clay
- Compress the clay bottom flat 7 times
- Gather the clay into a beehive shape
- Compress the top edge
- Thumb lift x 1
- Split finger lift x 1
- Open hand lift x 1
By now you should have a pot…the ‘throwing’ is finished. Each time you sit down to throw you will learn the technicalities of each move.
Now you need to clean up the pot ready for shaping so…
- Use scary trimming tool to trim clay away from the outside bottom 2 inches of pot
- Use flexible metal rib of death to clean up rest of outside pot
- Use sponge to finish rim and clean out excess water from inside the pot
- Use fingers or flexible metal rib of death to finish shaping pot from the inside
- Use wire to under cut pot from front to back and remove with scissor fingers onto your board
Now carefully take your pots home and dry them out until they are leather hard. When they reach this stage put them carefully in a bag and put them on the rims to transport back to class. Leather hard means that the clay has hardened to the point where it is no longer flexible and if you dint it on the bottom of the pot with you finger nail it feels like hard Parmesan cheese. I always say it is the point where the clay no longer feels tacky when you press it firmly but before the pot has changed to any hint of becoming whiter. Sometimes it helps to leave your pot out and when it is stable enough to hold its own shape, pick it up carefully and place it on the rim so that the base can dry out a bit more…rims always dry faster than the base of a pot.
We want our pots to be leather hard so that we can trim them with out distorting or breaking them. Look up ‘turning’ or ‘trimming’ a leather hard pot on You Tube as a heads up for this process.
I have taken some images over the past few weeks that have what I call ‘sets’ in them. A set of pots or work explores some kind of similarity between all the pieces. When you are on the wheel it is an ideal time to explore these ideas because of its inherent nature of repetition. So you can produce pots that look similar in size or shape or glaze pots using the same colour combinations to make different shape pots feel part of a set. Have a look at the picks below and see what you could possibly do too. Think about what you would like to do with your spoons if you have made some.
Well have a great weekend and remember to pop into the Monster Winter Big Melt Market at the Polytech this weekend, Saturday 10-3pm or if you fancy a drive I have a group show opening at Arts in Oxford on Saturday 3pm.
a.k.a The Busy Finch