I’ve had a chance to spend a few hours in the clay studio over the past few weeks.Â I threw a set of simple plates for my wife.Â The only other set that I’ve thrown were part of my senior exhibit in college 7 years ago.Â I’ve thrown a plate or platter every once in a while, to remember how to do it or so I have a large flat area to do something fancy with glazes, so I think I’ve improved slightly since then.Â I’ll reserve judgement until after they are all glazed and fired to see how they hold up, and how they stack, and if I like the functionality of the set.Â I threw 9 total.Â They are all pretty similar in size but as I was trimming the bottom it was interesting to see the slight differences along the outside edges.Â I also tried a few root beer mugs (or beer steins, depending on your choice of beverage).Â I think I started with about two pounds of clay and added some thick handles with thumb rests.
I usually stick with one type of clay – Amaco’s Warm Brown Stoneware.Â But I threw and altered a few items recently with some low fire clay because I want to do a little experimenting with a pit fire.Â (Notice the small bottles in front.)Â I want to try some different clays, bisque fired and not bisque fired to see what gives interesting results.Â I’m also looking forward to testing some glazes.Â I have a pretty good sample of chemicals and a few glaze books.Â So I decided to throw a handful of little test vessels (pencil holders?) to go along with my test tiles.Â Since it will be my first major glaze testing session at the home studio it seems like a few more items, especially items with some curves, wouldn’t hurt.Â I threw the little test vessels “off the hump” as they say, and each one only took a couple minutes and weren’t exactly challenging.Â So to challenge myself and hopefully improve my throwing skills I worked on a few vase-type forms.Â I’m pretty happy with the “light bulb vases” because I felt like I got a pretty good form without making the walls too thick.
I also threw a few bottles and taller vases to work on my skills.Â The clay was a little too soft for what I was trying to do but I decided the worst that could happen was that one of my mediocre vases would collapse into a spinning blob, I would get mad/depressed for a few seconds, I’d start over… and life would go on.Â So that nearly happened a few times.Â But I got things straightened out except for a few minor lumps and ended up with what you see in the photo.Â The bottles are a little heavy, mostly because I couldn’t really trim much from the bottom because my chuck was too wide.Â I eventually put another vase in the chuck and then put the bottles in the vase to clean up the bottom.Â Pretty unstable but it works okay in a pinch.Â As I was trimming I thought I might be able to throw and attachment piece to put inside/attach to the “super chuck” to make it more narrow for bottles or other long-necked pots.Â I haven’t trimmed the vases but I have a feeling they might be a little bottom heavy as well.
I hope to do some more throwing in in the next week or so.Â My brother and his wife are back from China on summer break so they are staying with us for a few days.Â After they leave I’ll probably have to hit the murals hard so I’m not too far behind.Â But I might be able to squeeze a little studio time in here and there.