I’ll admit, I don’t often make thorough, comprehensive plans in life. Like, no Moira, I don’t know what I’m doing two weeks next Wednesday; I don’t own a diary. (Obviously, at the moment I know exactly what I’m doing. every. single. day…. But hopefully that won’t be the case for too much longer.) And the same applies to my pots. More often than not, I’ll go to the studio with only a vague idea of what I fancy doing that day – such is the luxury of not relying on my craft for an income.
But this project is different. I’m making a set of trinket bowls in collaboration with a lovely local tattoo studio, KTREW Tattoo (check out Kirstie and Ivy’s work at https://www.ktrewtattoo.com/), so there’s been a lot of consultation and planning, lots of testing of glaze combinations, clays, stamps and construction methods. Unfortunately, lockdown was enforced almost as soon as we’d finalised the designs, so there are a bunch of unfinished pots lounging around the locked-down studio like idle little terracotta walruses (Now THERE’S an image! Might have to make one of them next!) So, until I can get in and finish the jaunty suckers, I thought I’d give you the lowdown on how I’ve made them. CUE MOVING PICTURES!!
Here’s a little video of the throwing process.
I’m using sanded etruscan red clay, which fires to a lovely warm terracotta red. This is an electric wheel, which only goes anti-clockwise (i.e. best for right-handed people). Being an odd little genius, I am of course left-handed – but we’re used to adapting to survive in a right-handed man’s world. I can even use a can opener without decapitating anyone now! Mummy’s very proud… and relieved.
I must admit, the video is sped up. I cannot really throw a pot in twenty seconds. But I didn’t think you’d want to see a full-length video of me faffing about with rubber kidneys and wooden ribs and chamois gubbins – forgive me for my presumptions.
Please do leave me a message in the comments if you have questions about the process. Or if you just want to praise the massive moon face you see frozen and glorious at the end of the film. It is mine, and it is enormous. (Inflated Chipmunk is the look I’m going for here. I’m quietly confident I’ve achieved it.)
Once I’ve thrown the pots, they have to dry slightly so that the wooden stamp doesn’t stick when I press it in (Yes, I learned the hard way). The stamps, by the way, were lasercut by KTREW’s studio neighbour, The Maker LAB (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/theMakerLAB), who also makes signage, teeny tiny dollhouse furniture and custom wooden whatnots.
Next, the lazy wotsits sit under plastic for a day or so (depending on the weather) to dry out enough for me to trim and tidy them up, removing any excess clay and finger marks. Then it is time to brand them!! No red-hot irons, mind; just more stamps. Far FAR less likely to injure myself this way…
Finally, the gorgeous little critters are ready to dry out slowly, then pop themselves (with some gentle persuasion) into the kiln to fire at over 1,000 degrees. As Paris Hilton would say, waaaay back in the Noughties, “That’s hot”.
I’ll leave you with this lovely, innocent picture of a few of the pots following this ‘bisque firing’. I’ll tell you about the glazing stage some other time – maybe after I’ve had time to recover from the unfortunate trauma that results from Googling ‘Paris Hilton hot gif’. *O_O*