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Hi folks, no new questions in the pool, so I will pose one.  I was recently watching a youtube video posted from House Beautiful about Heath Ceramics in S.F..

The video shows some interesting things including the use of a Griffin Grip! This production pottery also shows quite a bit of trimming, some throwing and ware on the storeroom walls. I was enthralled with the amount of trimming done with the GG, and how much trimming was done. I had always been taught to trim only the base, and make my throwing thin enough to not need trimming, and to use ribs when in need of smooth surfaces. Quite different story here in the video.  This makes me reevaluate my values in the way of time, expediency, and even aesthetics. I have on occasion believed a piece was too heavy, and would trim some weight off up the sides, but very infrequently, Not being judgemental, as a teacher I would always encourage/require my students to get the most out the clay walls even testing them on height/weight throwing. Now I wonder if I was imposing my own  learned biases on my students. So it brings to mind the question for my own justification or approval/disapproval. .. .

QotW: How much do you trim?




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I try to limit it to things like bowls, or items I want a foot ring on for either a functional or aesthetic purpose. But I don’t think it’s always necessary. My mugs with a foot ring are priced higher than the ones I make without. It does add an extra step, and I’m finding my time becoming more and more valuable to me. 

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Hmmm, I find if I'm using porcelain I end up trimming more.   Which is a pain because porcelain really does a number on my trim tools.  But with porcelain I am usually making plates and bowls where the foot actually serves a functional purpose so I don't mind throwing them a bit thicker.

Mugs no. Vases, usually no.  Pretty much anything but bowls and plates forms, no.

It's not that I don't enjoy trimming, it's fun to make a big mess and see the spaghetti fly, but in a typical day it's maybe 20 hours between when I throw and am able to get out and trim, so I have adapted to not trimming as much.  Nothing worse than trying to trim something that has dried a little too much.

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I'm trimming most pieces, however, the amount trimmed away has been diminishing - almost to where the there's just enough clay left at bottom to trim a foot (+ a bit of wiggle room) and enough on the lower side to complete a smooth arc to the foot. 

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I rarely throw and my style is intentionally a bit raw, allowing the natural properties, incl. "flaws", presented by the process to remain "as is".   When I do throw I don't often add feet-if I do I trim if needed just enough assure a flat base.  Trimming for my freeform slab/hand built pieces is limited to softening sharp edges. I close my eyes and feel the greenware as tho I could not see. It gets "trimmed" by how it feels. The feel of it is the point. I do some very light sanding (sanding-oh no, say it isn't so! yep-I do!) or slightly round the edges with a damp chamois, sometimes I trim/shape thick pieces with a Surform Shaver, depending on the look I want. That gets real seductive and I sometimes get carried away, as tho I'm shaping a sculpture twenty times the size of my little piece and I go too far! 

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