Saturday, June 14, 2008

Potters who Bake/Bakers who Pot

Many potters are excellent cooks. Maybe it's cross-over skills of the same thing. Mixing ingredients, experimentation, understanding how things blend and change in an oven.

A lot of the potters I know can cook up a storm. So it makes sense that a good cook/potter should be able to design dishes that work exceptionally well in the cooking process.

For instance, this baker is rather large, has an exaggerated flare to the top of the rim, is relatively thick. It is large because I usually want to make something that will last at least two meals. It has a very large top surface and a shallow depth so the ingredients will cook in less time and it is thick in order to retain the heat for a longer time after it is removed from the oven. It is also easy to handle.

The clay is stoneware, the glaze is spontaneously applied Cayote light shino, rhubarb, and alligator, I believe, and fired in oxidation at cone 5.

I use a template to cut out the slabbed bottom, throw the rim on the wheel, and form the upper rim angle, but do not bring it out or flare it as much as the finished piece. That comes later. I measure the outside circumference of the bottom using a piece of string. The side is thrown a bit bigger than the bottom. (Use the string to measure the rim to be sure it is bigger. Excess rim will be removed later.)

I carefully wire-cut the rim, but leave it on the wheel. After the rim and base have stiffened, I remove the rim carefully and open it by cutting it down one side and and place it around the scored & slipped outside edge of the bottom. Then I overlap the place where the rim came together. I cut and joined it together. I roll out a worm of clay making it the entire circumference of the inside and join, pressing and smoothing it into place using my fingers and a sponge. I let the piece set up a bit, then gently using a rib, coaxed the upper rim outward into a more pronounced flare.

1 comment:

Patricia Griffin said...

Hi Jeanette,
Thanks for sharing your thinking behind your making. I can see why you call yourself a "Clay Engineer" in the blog title. Very thoughtful and thought-provoking. Thanks!