Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Teapots and Tools

Before we left California to move East I was thinking of what to make for the Clay and Blogs show which Meredith Heywood of Whynot Pottery invited me to, thanks Meredith. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and meeting Meredith and Mark Heywood and all the other potters I had conversed with for years via my blog. Check out Meredith's blog for some new pots she just snapped some photos of.

Anyway for the show I thought about making a teapot. I made a few sketches of an idea I had and told myself I'd make a  teapot when I got to the East Coast and was moved into a new home. When we got here I couldn't find my sketches in any of my clay journals. I looked high and low and no teapot sketches were to be found anywhere. I knew I had sketched three teapots in a rough pyramid shape; so I decided to build a teapot from memory. That's the teapot I built above which sold at the show.

We've slowly been going through all our closets, paperwork and the treasure bus organizing, tossing, donating, selling etc. I had a few notebooks I kept by the desk in California for the lavender farm with orders, farm notes, etc. I flipped through a couple of them and decided I didn't need them any longer. As I was flipping through I came across the drawing above. No wonder I couldn't find my sketches of the teapots in my clay journal, they were in my lavender farm notebook.

I learned how to hand build by butting my seams together. About a year ago I learned of a bevel cutting tool. The idea is to slide the wire alongside the edge of the clay and it cuts the clay in a nice bevel shape. With two pieces of clay cut in this manner and put together the seam matches up very neatly. After all these years I finally splurged on a bevel cutting tool. What a difference my seams are going to make.  I tried this tool yesterday for a cart I made and the seams are hardly noticeable. Since money is tight I sometimes feel guilty about spending money on clay supplies, but this was money well spent. One side has a wire with a 45 degree angle and the other side has a wire with either a 60 or 30 degree angle. I think I'll make a few more teapots and use my new bevel tool. I have cut seams with a needle tool on a bevel, but this tool makes the cuts more even. This tool is going to help me improve my building skills. Thanks for reading and for all  your comments.


  1. So glad you found the drawings. Seems your filing system is pretty much like mine.

  2. Akria Satake showed me one of these he had made using a banjo string. Of course if you don't have any old banjo or guitar strings handy it's much easier to just buy this tool.

  3. I have the very bad habit of starting new notebooks (I always keep softbound moleskin notebooks on hand) and forgetting the old ones. Now I try to tear pages out and put them in a separate portfolio.....try being the operative word!

  4. i remember that teapot in the show, how nice that it sold. i have a bevel tool but have rarely used it. mine isn't nearly as nice as yours. yours looks like you can easily replace the wire, i don't think mine is like that.

  5. Cool tool! I stay away from our local pottery supply place cause I love to buy new pretty tools. But it is always fun to try them out and see how they help us potters on our journey!

  6. Hi Linda! Thanks for being in the show and we enjoyed having you here.
    Mark made a tool to do bevels- works pretty well.

  7. Hi Linda, glad your teapot sold. This is a very posh tool! I've only seen home made ones before. A worthwhile investment that will make your joins just that much easier.

  8. I'll have to look out for one of those bevel thingys! My seams are always 'clumsy' which is why I avoid doing them! That would help a lot. xC

  9. Hi Patti, thanks, yes I used to be so good at filing and then so many moves and the filing systems have gone out the door. Ha.

    Hi Lori, thanks, I had heard of folks making them but I knew a pre-made one would be better than I could make so I finally splurged.

    Hi Suzi, thanks, I do the same thing I start a new notebook and write on scraps of paper and then wish I had just waited to put the drawing into the sketchbook, when will I ever learn.

    Hi Michele, thanks, this one was manufactured by dirty girls and the wire is replaceable.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, I try to stay away, but every once in a while I need clay so I have to go and I try to get one tool each time.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, I bet Mark's works great, he is so handy, Gary says he is not a carpenter but only works on tractors. Ha.

    Hi Anna, thanks, I only wish I had gotten one of these a long time ago, it works great and allows the texture to go right to the edge of the seam.

    Hi Catherine, thanks, this tool is well worth it, my seams have been very clumsy in the past and this thing is a dream to fix a myriad of problems I have had in the past.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment