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Published Mar 20, 2009

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio, with the purpose of filming some of the demonstrations at the Potters Council workshop "Focus on Function." These workshops present a terrific opportunity for me to acquire videos of pottery and sculpture techniques from top-notch ceramic artists that I can share with the Ceramic Arts Daily audience. It is kind of like a mini-workshop for those who were unable to attend in person.

In today's video, potter Laura Ross demonstrates how to make lovely and functional thrown and altered baking dish with a slab built lid. It is a longish video but it is packed with great information. For instance, Laura's slab-built lid technique is a super cool way to make a snug-fitting lid on an altered form. So sit back and enjoy! - Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor

When Laura throws her baking dishes, she opens up the clay to the wheel head because she will be adding a slab bottom. To make the slab attachment process easier, she shapes the bottom of the pot into a curve, rather than a harder angle, thus eliminating the need for a coil to reinforce the joint. Brilliant

Laura has found that when altering a round pot into a square or rectangular form, it helpful to push out the bottom "corners" to add strength.

To make the template for the slab lid, Laura uses newspaper. To get the exact shape to ensure a snug fitting lid, she paints India Ink around the rim of the baking dish and then lays newspaper on top to pick up the ink. This gives her the template she needs to cut out for the slab.

To make the lid dome shaped, after letting the slab stiffen up (not quite leather hard; it needs some give but cannot be soft), Laura lays a piece of plastic over the baker and lays the slab on top of that. Then she gently presses the slab into the opening of the baker creating a nice curve.