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.
TAKE OUT THE QUARTER!!!!
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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