Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tea for Two?

This past week we were making the last run of pots before switching into the glazing phase- when I had an itch to make a series of five small teapots. This is the ultimate exercise
for a potter because of all the different parts that go into making them.
With these teapots I wanted to explore a more "can" type shape that could be left untrimmed at the makers discretion. It's all about your particular tastes-pepper anyone? Now back to the point. For me this particular style and size seems very practical for two reasons: they are hard to tip over, and they are small enough that you are not wasting tea that you will not consume, or it gets to cold to be desired anymore. Making teapots seems be more like a dance, because all of the different parts and steps that go into their production.
After the body style is decided on, the next hurdle to jump is the type of lid to make. Of course when making the body you have to take into consideration the type of lid that you will be doing. With the time factor creeping in, I chose an inset lid that can be thrown off the hump- with an addition of a pulled handle. After the lids were thrown and waiting to be trimmed, I poked the pour holes. I then threw the spouts, and I always make more than I need because this gives you more choices in spout lengths. Believe me it makes a big difference in the look of the finished pots.
The next step was pulling the handles and putting them under plastic until the spouts set up enough to be added. By this time the lids are dry enough to trim( if you speed dry with a heat gun, which I think is a great modern convenience). After trimming the lids I pulled the handles, added them immediately after wiping the lid with water-right before sticking the handle to the lid. If it is done this way you don't have to do all that scoring that we just love to do. The final step was to add the handle to the body of the teapot by wetting the area that the handle will be affixed to, and then pressing the handle into place with no scoring necessary. This exercise is always enlightening and rewarding. That's enough for now~your water is boiling. Enjoy your tea for two.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Big Lollipop

This new work that I have been doing is very much in the salt firing realm. Lately I have found the need to be more connected with the work throughout the whole wet phase of the clay. I only do this for some of the work because it requires many more steps, and we have to fill our kilns to maximize the use of the ever so precious commodity, propane gas.
This particular pot was made in four sections, and joined one on top of the other. In this type of construction one should always try to minimize the amount of a joining area that you have on the inside of the pot. This is done two ways: you either throw up thru the join,or by trimming the join at a later more dryer state. The reason for this is sometimes this joining ring will transfer to the outside of the fired pot, and nobody wants a big ring through your "Big Lollipop".