Thursday, October 16, 2008
Hand Built Tumblers
I'm trying to get into a routine of sticking to a list of ceramic pieces I should make each day. It's easy to get distracted when I go to the college studio. I get interrupted by folks going in and out, then there is kiln firing, classroom maintenance, and lots of other things. I have always known I work well without distractions, so I go the classroom before anyone else gets there. I have found I am very productive when I work alone.
The last couple of days I have actually been able to stick to my list. Wednesday I was supposed to make butter dishes. The butter dishes turned out as cheese keepers, but that's OK because I completed them. Tumblers were next on the list. I made a couple of tumblers yesterday, but quickly realized they were too large in diameter to be functional. Those will probably become vases or canisters.
I am still trying to work out in my mind the shrinkage factor of clay. I come from a background of landscaping and I can easily visualize small plants in the landscape as they'll look when they're full grown. Visualizing clay pieces in their finished state is difficult for me. Yesterday I made two tumblers and later I determined they were much too large in diameter to be a tumbler, so they will be vases or canisters. Today I revised my tumbler pattern and hopefully these will be the perfect size for a tall glass of a person's favorite beverage. I feel as time goes by and I have more experience with clay I will develop "an eye" for what the piece will look like in it's finished state.
Today I went to the college studio and set up a mini assembly line process to make tumblers. I had a time limit so I wanted to be efficient with my production. I rolled six slabs of clay in one direction as thicker slabs, set them aside and then added a shim into the slab roller and rolled the six slabs in the other direction. Next I cut out my pattern on each slab and then textured the slabs with a texture tool. Then I set the slabs aside to firm up a bit. Later I joined the slabs into a cylinder shape and set them aside again to firm up before attaching bottoms. Making six of the same piece is much more efficient than making one at a time.
I'll be setting up a front yard booth for our local apple festival for the next several days, so have a good weekend.