Published Jun 1, 2016
When you’ve gotten the hang of throwing mugs and bowls and are ready to branch out into some more challenging forms, making jars is a great step. Throwing the body of the jar isn’t too much different from throwing a cylinder, but you might wonder how to make a lid for a jar.
In today’s post, an excerpt from the Pottery Making Illustrated archive, Jared Zehmer gives great instruction for how to make one of the most popular types of lids for jars. - Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor
Making a Round Lid
To create a jar with a round lid that fits over the rim and has a flange that drops down into the jar, begin after figure 5 by pulling the leftover thick rim inward and upward, reducing the thickness and creating a thin, rounded edge with a slight upward sweep. Take a measurement of the inside (A), cut the jar free from the bat with a wire tool, and then set it aside to dry to the leather-hard stage while keeping it on the bat.
I prefer to throw flanged lids off the hump, and start with about 3 pounds of centered clay, and use smaller portions of the top of the mound to create the lid. This is basically forming a small upright bowl while staying within the parameters of the lid’s measurement (B). Create the lid’s flange using the corner of a wooden rib (C). The outer diameter of the flange itself should equal the measurement.
Use the tip of a wooden rib to undercut about an inch below the lid, turn off the wheel and cut through the undercut with a wire tool and set the lid aside to dry to the leather-hard stage.
Once both the jar and the lid are dry enough, fit the lid on the jar. Since the jar is still centered on the bat, it acts as an already centered trimming chuck for the lid. Put the piece back onto the wheel, get the wheel spinning, and trim the lid to an even curve (D). The downward pressure of the trimming tool as well as the moisture of the piece will keep the lid attached to the jar through the trimming process.
Score and slip the very top of the lid with a needle tool and a little water and attach a clay ball about the size of a large marble. Press down and give it a good wiggle to ensure a bond.
Get the wheel turning again and gently shape a knob (E). Only dip your fingertips into some water for this process as you don’t want to resaturate any other parts of the pot.