My tasks so far at the pottery have been varied. Weed killing, stacking wood, boxing up orders, helping in the shop etc etc. But in terms of pots, I have been started off on four inch bowls.
You would not believe how difficult it is to make a pile of 9oz balls of clay turn into shelves full of identical four inch bowls. It is impossible. Of course you are never going to be able to get them identical. The nature of hand thrown pottery is that your end results will always vary a little. But my problem is that they don't just vary a little, but a lot.
They should look like half a tennis ball on the inside, with a continuous curve springing from the base and ending in a nicely rounded rim: a Winchcombe rim. The rim has been a battle to grasp but I think I am there now. It is a five finger grip, with each finger tip doing something very specific. Not easy to explain in words. The outside shape should match the inside but is not so crucial as you can adjust this when turning them at a leather hard stage. Initially I was throwing them too narrow in the base so turning them was problematic.
|Awaiting turning. You can see that some of the bases are smaller than others.|
What else have I grappled with? The final move, pushing the curve into the bowl is an art in itself. You have to be gentle then a little harder and then gentle again. I will put up some pictures of each move soon, to show what I mean. Also, throwing to a stick is not as easy as it sounds… how close to the stick do you go??? Matt told me he has experimented with this and the answer is as close as possible.
|They should all fit rim to rim. Should being the operative word.|
|Slipped with iron slip, combed and dry. Ready for bisquit firing.|
So here is a video of me throwing a four inch bowl last week. I am sure if Mike F sees this he will berate me for doing it all wrong, but it’s a process. If I do another video in a week I hope the moves will be more direct and fluid.