Wednesday 17 April 2019

Handbuilt tableware set, Part 1 of 3

Early in the new year I had the idea that I wanted to create a set of dishes in the ceramics workshop that I attend every Thursday afternoon at Signal Arts Centre, here in Bray. I planned to make these dishes with handbbuilding techniques rather than on the wheel and my plan was to paint them with tulip designs. Yellow tulips are probably my favourite flower and I have loads of sketches of them.

First off, I had to find two large plates with slight curves, but not too many folds, as formers. I hadn't firmly decided on terracotta clay for the set, but I used terracotta to start with.

For smaller plates I used the plastic lids from pudding bowls as formers because they had a gentle curve over which I could drape a slab. NB cling film must be placed between any former that isn't plaster in order that clay won't stick to it. I decided that the small plates would have feet, and this picture shows the necessary scoring where the feet will be placed.

Instead of one solid foot, I decided to make a design with two arcs for the feet. This picture shows the scoring of the foot (it is on a cloth) before placing, after applying the slip bond, onto the corresponding scoring on the plate.

Here are the two small plates with their feet attached and my initials and date within the circumferences of the feet.

I had also made some small low-fired white plates without feet, as I hadn't made a final decision on whether or not I would make a set in white clay or terracotta. Here are several plates after the bisque firing. At this point I knew for sure that my set of dishes would be made from terracotta and not white. The small white plates will be for a different purpose

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