Thursday, March 13, 2008
I'll be jiggered
I have wanted for some time to make a large wall platter with a wide rim, a narrow foot and i wanted the ability to heavily texture the clay surface. After talking with Dick Aerni about his process of throwing a plate in a mold the wheels of my mind started turning. I turned to my friend and fellow potter Don Ross for his engineering cleverness. Don is Canada's equivalent of Harry Davis and can make anything and anything work. Many years ago Don and his wife and partner Maureen bought a hydraulic press to produce their line of dinnerware for the wholesale market. With the new press the old jigger wheel became the slow second cousin. I sought Don's help and dusted off the jigger wheel.
The first step was to make the foot ring knife from sheet metal to cut the plaster when poured into the caudal which was wrapped around a bat on the wheel head. Nails were hammered into the bat so that the heads sticking up would hold the plaster on the bat when it all set up.
The first knife is for the foot ring which in essence is the mold. Here is a picture of Don pushing down on the foot ring knife to form the profile of the mold. The excess plaster is scooped off and throw in the garbage. We rolled out a thick slab and set it in the mold. I then took a sponge and pushed the slab into place. Since it settles in to fill the foot ring a wad of clay is then added to the center and the second knife which is the only one we need now that the mold is finished can be used. I cut the rim in a casual fashion to give a "loose" appearance to an otherwise very controlled process. It was nice to be able to push down hard with the roulette to decorate the plate.
Thanks to a friend I now have a canvas to play with. Thanx Don!!!