This is one way I make slab plates. I posted the pictures to FB but am reposting here with descriptions of each step. You can adjust the steps if your clay is more or less forgiving than mine.
First cut slabs and let them rest overnight to stiffen up some. These slabs are 10mm thick.
Trim the slab with an undercut bevel, and save the trimmed edges.
Sprinkle something on your form to prevent the clay from sticking. I use corn starch.
Place the trimmed slab bevel side down on your form and paddle it THOROUGHLY, from center to edge, then once more evenly all over. You can use whatever you want as a paddle, here I used a sandbag, but I usually use a wooden paddle.
Place the trimmed edges you saved back on the paddled slab, followed by a paper towel or other cloth, and your board. Turn over the form to release the slab onto the board.
Press the center of the slab down gently and let the edge pieces support the edge of the plate. While supporting the edge with one hand, use the other to define a concavity in the bevel with a convex tool. Anything convex and with a curve you like will work. I used a little ball here. Sometimes I use a rib, sometimes a roller, sometimes a clamshell. I like rollers and balls because they compress the edge well.
Finish and further compress the edge with a damp (not wet) chamois or sponge. Done!
Today is the first load of bisque aimed at the fall firing of the wood kiln. About 28 ware boards worth of pots, I really tried to get as much packed in as possible, to maximize the gas used.
I don’t pack glaze firings very tight because I want the calories getting around to everything, but for bisque I’m not too picky.
700C – 750C is my usual peak temp, I like the ware to be very absorbent for glazing, however the resulting ware is quite fragile and needs careful handling.
This time around there are quite a few slab plates of various shapes and sizes, which I am a bit worried will crack. These are stacked on spacers, then more spacers between stacked plates, because I don’t want to take any chances with cracking. The rest of everything is pretty safe, so packed and stacked without too much thought other than to get as much in as possible.
I’ve just come off of a week of pot showing and selling, sharing space with some very fine young (and older) potters who are making crazy good work. This last week was Karatsu Yakimon Matsuri, which ran concurrently with Arita Touki-Ichi. This was the third year for the Karatsu event, and attendance jumped to 100,000, from 70,000 last year.
The theme was tableware, and there were many collaborative exhibits between potters and chefs. What a great time it was to see all of the wonderful work. Gave me a LOT of new ideas and inspiration, as well as some great feedback from customers and restaurant owners.
I had been scheduled to go to the Mungyeong Teabowl Festival, however the ferry accident resulted in most or all of the spring holiday’s festivals being cancelled or postponed.
Sorry to everyone for the lack of posting lately, particularly pictures of results from the last firing. I’ve been taking photos, but keep having to scrap them because the color is all over the place. When I did the remodel of the workshop it totally screwed up the ambient light on the 2nd floor. That, combined with me moving my photo setup downstairs, and my white balance is completely out of whack. So, I will post finished work when I get that all sorted out. It’s looking like I’ll have to move the photo setup back upstairs and go back to dedicated lighting of one type only (at this point all you photographers are thinking “no shit, Sherlock”, no doubt.)
Anyway… back to the slabfest thing. After finishing a lot of pots for a wedding order, I started thinking about slabs, and the fact that I finally figured out how to make them without having them all crack during either drying and/or firing. So this next firing will include thicker and larger slab plates, and also one experimental interlocking slab wall hanging that will be about 5 ft. tall.
Lately, all my slabs are made by slapping a piece of clay out on the floor until it is the desired thickness. After that, I get them onto a board and paddle the bejeezus out of them. Lastly, the edges get compressed with a damp chamois. On one of my dog walks a couple of years ago, I found an old rusty sickle which I hammered into a curve and now use to facet and flute different pieces. It also works great on these slabs.
These three do not have raised edges, since they are meant to be a wall hanging.
Still working on making pots in between a sudden flurry of activities I hadn’t planned on. Isn’t that how it always works? The pots from last week are all dry and ready to be glazed, so I’m in the middle of doing the underglaze deco on them. Hopefully I can finish that up and get them all glazed tomorrow. Then start loading the kiln with them to free up shelf space for more pots.
In the pictures today are some larger versions of the small ovals from last week. The top two ware boards are medium sized ovals thrown off of the hump. The lower shelf is ovals made from individual 2kg balls. The big round one was a 3kg ball, and is about 34cm in diameter. The decorated pots are the round dishes, and the shoe shaped (kutsugata) dishes. They will all be glazed while green and once fired.
Still trying to figure out how to draw a good bird, and had fun experimenting with the various brush strokes for making the wings and body. So many variations for all the body parts. Tried very hard to do all of the strokes as quickly as possible, to keep them looking fresh. Far from being skilled at this yet, but feel that I have taken a step or two in the right direction.