Sunday, March 16, 2008

They're gaining on me

I wanted to show you the narrow foot on the platters I am jiggering. Try throwing a 24 inch platter with a 6 or 7 inch foot ring. Warping is on my mind but I am drying them face down and have made shrinkage coasters to fire under each platter. I just rolled out a slab of the same clay body and cut a circle that will be fired under the platter in the glaze firing. Notice the under cut in the inside of the foot ring. We call this the Aerni undercut. For years I fought Dick's idea of undercutting the foot ring so that the plate can be hung on a screw in the wall. You can turn the plate any which way you want and it works. I've slammed the door many times and the plate is steady as a rock.
I went to the Sheridan third year show this week and took pics of many of the grads that are leaving Sheridan with a toolbox full of applied skills. What a great show!!! Two of the three are off to grad school and I can only imagine how great their work will be 3 years from now. It is a great pleasure to have students doing such fine work that you feel their breath over your shoulder. The first platter is 3 feet wide, the second platter has some sweeeeet decoration and the third pic is of some vases ready for the salt kiln( the cement blocks give an idea of scale).

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!!!