Monday, 21 March 2011

Mustard Pots Revisited: Turning

Opinion seems to be divided between those potters who enjoy turning and those who don’t. I fall into the former. In fact sometimes (I must confess) I enjoy turning more than throwing. I know: scandalous.

For those of you reading this who have no idea what I’m talking about, ‘turning’ is the process of finishing a wheel-thrown pot at a later stage – essentially when the pot has dried out a bit and become ‘leatherhard’. It usually involves putting the pot back on the wheel upside down and ‘turning’ away the excess clay from the base using a hand tool that shaves away the clay in ribbons to create a nice, clean finish. A bit like wood turning really.

Anyway, most of the time I enjoy turning. Sometimes though it’s pretty hard work! Turning these mustard pots took me about two hours of concentrated effort (with a little bit of angst thrown in). The base of the pots themselves was fairly straightforward and didn’t take too long: the hard part was turning the lids. Each lid had to fit its own individual pot at just the right size so it sits nicely onto the ledge inside the pot without touching the outer rim. This involves quite a lot of checking, measuring and checking again to make sure you don’t take too much clay away (otherwise the lid will fall in!) And then once that was done the most nerve-wracking part was cutting the holes for the spoons! Luckily though they all survived without any cracks or breakages – and I even made a couple of spare lids just in case.

The next stage for these little pots is the bisque kiln. I’m really pleased with how they’re shaping up though; I'm even thinking I might have to keep one of these for myself…

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