Looking for some suggestions for the quickest/easiest way to make slabs for the jigger. At the moment we're slab rolling each one and then polishing the top with a rib, before flipping into the mould (shiny side down for a smooth bottom). This is working fine but is slow, recently I visited the Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke and there the jigger jolly team had what I believe is a hydraulic mini jigger jolley with a flat blade and automatic water sprayer to make the slabs. The operator worked the two simultaneously, making a slab, replacing with new clay and transferring the slab to the jolley machine - this seemed to work well and was very quick.
One option I have is to make a flat tool for my jigger machine with a plaster bat and make a batch of slabs before beginning jiggering, but my two worries are: a) how to keep the smooth surface as if it gets marked, it shows up on the plate's bottom and ruins the piece, and b) how to stop them drying out (if too dry they're very tricky to work with on the jigger and creases begin to form)? If anyone has any suggestions or knows of a place where I could get an automatic hydraulic jigger/jolley with an automatic water sprayer I would very much appreciate any suggestions.