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Hoo Boy, Did I Get My Butt Kicked!

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So tonight I was inspired by clay lover's post "throwing with the eye of the clay" and the subsequent discussion there.  I liked the idea of centring tall and opening there.  I thought "what a great opportunity to try a new vase form."  So i sat down with a picture of a Goryeo celadon vase not unlike this one:  http://img.koreatimes.co.kr/upload/news/100521_p15_kansong2.jpg


I thought, what a perfect shape to try to throw.  I had no pretensions about doing the inlay or even glazing it celadon.  I'm not that good, nor crazy enough to think I am.  I just wanted a nice shaped pot in good old Michael Sheba raku clay and my black raku glaze.  Ho-ly did I bomb it.  I opened nicely, got the cylinder up to height, brought in a nice little waist, formed the shoulder, and then :P.  I'm still not entirely sure where all I went wrong, but I can say for certain I was too slow, lacked confidence, which caused me to over work the clay, plus tunnel vision focussing on all the wrong aspects.


But you know what?  I loved it.  Failure's great.  I haven't screwed up since I flubbed a firing, and that was such a minor mistake, it almost shouldn't have happened--I also refired everything in that firing to great success.  But this was epic, I haven't failed this badly at throwing in almost a year.  I've got something to figure out now.  Best part of the whole process.  Tyler had a good night.   :)

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I have managed 25# runs where I did not lose a pot, not many, flop daily and 're-wedge on the wheel' (is that a thing?) twice before I have ruinated the clay and have to reclaim, which I am bad at.  More often I realize that I'm 'not gonna get there' and just flop it myself, sponge off & start over, that may happen at the first to third pot of a run, every run for days... Usually I am going for specific forms and making something else of it, can't work.  have a bad habit of pulling too fast initially for my rotation or not trimming the base then absent-mindedly thumbing unevenness back into the form at the base.  working on it.  Also if I'm bothered by something it surfaces in my work, same with guitar, if i'm distracted I can't play very well, or forget the words.  I get on the elliptical for 15 and it sometimes evens out my head & I do better.

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Guest JBaymore

Find the video "The Potters of Hebron".  Available at Steven Branfman's Potters Shop bookstore.


Check out how they make an earthenware water pot called a zia.  Fascinating process.


Here is one PART of this........


Vertically center a big thick pile of clay (the zai are quite large .... maybe 24" -ish tall).  Open the clay mass down about half way into the whole pile.  Pull up the walls to the right thickness and make the shape you leave the BOTTOM contour of the piece you are making.  Throw the top (which will be the bottom) inward as a closed form.  Shape that closure as a footring.  Cut the whole thing off the wheel and set aside to stiffen up.


When it is the right consistency, center the piece with the bottom now down in a supporting chuck.  Wet the top thick un-thrown part and recenter and open it down into the opened piece.  Wet the upper part of the lower form walls a bit to start to soften it slightly.  Pull up the walls of the upper part.  Blend in the thickness of the two sections.  Finish shaping and bellying out the center where it joins the stiiffened bottom.


Try THAT one folks. ;)


There is even MORE amazing parts to this process than that description.  Check it out.  Get the video.





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