Published May 5, 2023
Ceramic spoons are a fun and challenging form to make and there are a lot of ways you can make them. Gwendolyn Yoppolo prefers handbuilding her ceramic spoons in a couple of different ways and she shares the techniques on her video Striking Serveware: Handbuilding Techniques for Distinctive Forms.
In this post, an excerpt from her video, Gwendolyn shares one example of how to make ceramic spoons. By cutting a solid handle in half and creating two pinch pots that are then reassembled, Gwendolyn is able to create the breadth in the handle that she likes. We've also included an example of how to throw a hollow handle below! –Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor
PS. See this video in the archives on how to build a wheel thrown and handbuilt ceramic ladle!
This clip was excerpted from Striking Serveware: Handbuilding Techniques for Distinctive Forms with Gwendolyn Yoppolo, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Network Shop.
Throwing Ceramic Spoons and Scoops off the Hump
by Alyssa Wagner
I choose to throw off of the hump. This allows for me to make multiple parts quickly, giving me a lot of options once I start to assemble. To throw off the hump, center a ball of clay on the top of the hump then throw a small bowl. This will be the scoop form. Try experimenting with different rim edges on the bowl and various widths as well. Ask yourself whether it will be a large, deep scoop used for dog food, or it will be small enough to scoop out sugar for coffee. Using a metal rib, compress the inside of the bowl and the outside walls. The thickness of the bowl should correspond to the intention of the scoop. For something like a dog- or cat-food scoop I make the walls of the bowl thicker, to protect it from chipping and wear and tear. When you’re satisfied with the size and the shape, use a needle tool to remove the bowl from the hump, and set it to the side to reach leather hard. Continue to throw several more bowls to give yourself options later.
Start to throw the handles for the scoops from the same hump of clay. I judge the size of the handles by the size of the bowls, always considering proportion and always making multiples. Make at least four handles for each bowl. Proportion is key when making the handle. If it’s too large, it will weigh the scoop down. If it’s not large enough, it will seem understated. The handles should be relatively thin and be long enough to fit in your hand nicely. I also recommend tapering the handle to make it easier to use, but this is just personal preference. Keep in mind when throwing the handle you want to have a good balance between the scoop and the handle; you want it to be relatively thin, but not so thin as to break off the scoop when using it, and not too heavy that it throws off the balance of the form.
A hollow handle is made by throwing a tall, thin form (1), and trapping a pocket of air inside it by closing off the top (2). Here is where you can really explore many different designs for the handle. Once the air is trapped in the form, it becomes easy to use a rounded metal rib and angled plastic Mudtools rib to refine the shape (3, 4). After you have the desired shape, cut the handle off the hump with a needle tool (5). Set all parts aside to dry. I throw with very little water, so it only takes a short while for the clay to stiffen up. While this handle was made for a scoop, it could also be used to make ceramic spoons.