Friday, March 14, 2008

The Quarter Trick

This is a little trick that I picked up from my friend Jordan Taylor for throwing platters. I find it extremely useful so I thought I would pass it on to all of you and maybe you'll find it useful too.

The quarter trick solves three problems that arise from throwing platters:
  • Instead of having to both wedge and center one large mass of clay, you can break it down into two pieces which reduces the strain on your body
  • It helps you more easily judge the thickness of the floor of the platter and adds consistency if you're doing multiples.
  • And it allows you to compress the floor of the platter REALLY well so you don't have to worry about any future problems of cracking.
So here is the quarter trick:

Wedge up and center your first lump of clay. This piece is going to be the floor of your platter. I used 8 lbs of clay which gives me a slightly narrow but thick foot (great for putting holes into so you can hang it). You can vary the weight depending on the ultimate size of your platter. But I find that the 8 - 9 lb. range works for a variety of sizes of platters since the size foot isn't necessarily that different.

Center your clay and compress the heck out of the floor. Place a quarter in the center of your centered clay (I use a 1974 quarter).

Wedge up your second piece of clay and place it on top of the quarter. I tend to use between 8 - 12 lbs. of clay for this second piece, depending on the ultimate shape of the platter.

Open up the platter and establish the curve.
And clean it off so it doesn't become part of your reclaim. (I speak from experience on this one.)

Then finish off your platter as usual and be aware of the thickness of the floor.

This platter isn't actually the platter that is throw above. That platter is sitting in my studio waiting to be trimmed. But this platter was thrown in the same way.

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At 6:29 PM, Blogger Rosie&James said...

Thanks for this post! As a pretty new potter your blog has been the most valuable one ever; I find myself saving information from each and every one!

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Michael Terra said...

Dear Emily;
I found you through a postcard that you left at NCECA this last week... I am very impressed with your blog and look forward to keeping in touch over the coming year!
I, too, am a full time ceramicist supporting a family of four and I'm always trying to step in front of the curve so that I can continue to feed them well.
We have decided to participate in an Artist Relocation Program in Paducah, KY and I'll be without clay for the entire summer as we re-hab a 3400 sq. ft. 1907 brick building into studio, gallery, living quarters, and Kookie Bar (a joint business venture between my 13 year old daughter and my wife!)

You are just north of me and I'd love to connect and pick your brain about the opportunities of the region sometime...

Blessings, Michael


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