October 29th, 2012

December 2014, by PNH

[Briefly] Evolution of a shape on the wheel

A few days ago I threw a teacup. After I undercut the base a bit (doing this allows the piece to come loose from the batt a little sooner, and also makes it slightly easier to trim) it looked like this:

After I took that photo I noticed that there was a certain amount of difference between what I was seeing with my eyes and what I was seeing in the photo. Much of that, I think, was the “big nose” distortion that is typical of a wide-angle image when the subject is close to the camera; but even so I decided to do some tweaking. I reshaped the upper part of the cup a little, then expanded and reshaped the lower part, and finally reworked the rim.

I present the photos here because the changes, though they were fairly small, made a huge difference in how I felt about this cup, and that seems important to me as a maker of things.

[I think the first photo in the sequence shows the same stage as the photo above, though obviously from a different angle.]

[Between the previous photo and the next photo, you can see a change in the balance between the upper part and the lower part; I widened the lower part because the cup seemed top-heavy.]

Here is the trimmed cup:

The rim is dark because it is still wet — I trim pieces by sticking them to the batt with slip [thinned wet clay]. That flattens the rim a little, so after I finish trimming I run a sponge over it to restore the smoothly rounded shape I want, unless of course I actually want or need a flat rim.

The shape is a bit tubby (though not so much so as it appears in the photo, for reasons I mention above), but I don’t much mind that; it feels good in the hand, and I think that’s more important for a fully functional piece.

This piece did not survive bisque firing, but I am making a few more, and we’ll see how those do.