Published Nov 28, 2013
We have started an unofficial tradition of sharing both a clay project and an food recipe at Thanksgiving-time. So today I am posting an article from the Potters Kitchen section of the September/October 2013 issue Pottery Making Illustrated, which also happens to be a good fall project.
In this post, Sumi von Dassow demonstrates how to make an apple baker, and also gives instruction on how to bake the apples once it's done.- Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
Fall is apple harvest season. If you have a tree, you’re either getting no apples at all or you are harvesting bushels. Last year I picked 800 pounds of apples; this year due to late frosts, there will be none!
But whether you’re picking your own apples or buying them from the grocery store or farmer’s market, you’ll want to try some new things with them. Pies, crisps, and crumbles are classics with endless variations, but what if you want a quick easy dessert for one or two people? Then maybe it’s time for a baked apple. If you enjoy the flavor of apple pie but you don’t want to go to all that trouble, you need an apple baker.
Throwing Off the Hump
To get started, wedge five or six pounds of clay and get it roughly centered on the wheel—it just needs to be centered enough to not totally throw you off as you work off the top of the hump. Now wrap your hands around a door-knob-sized portion of clay at the top of your cone and get just that amount perfectly centered. The first thing beginners worry about when they throw off the hump is, “how do I keep from making my opening too deep?” I like to make a groove at the base of the centered door-knob and set my pinky fingers into this groove. When I push my thumbs into the door knob to open it up, the anatomy of my hands makes it impossible to push my thumbs down too far. Tip: If you’re new to throwing off the hump, try this little exercise to reassure yourself: hold your hands out in front of you, thumbs up. Curve the fingers of both hands in, as if you are wrapping your hands around a lump of clay. Now bend your thumbs down in front of your palms, as if you are pushing them into the invisible lump of clay. If you don’t turn your hands, your thumb tips can’t push below your pinky fingers. Just keep this alignment when you open up the centered clay at the top of the hump, and you’ll be fine.
Forming the Spike
Cutting Off the Hump
Trimming, Glazing, and Using
Sumi von Dassow is an artist, instructor, and regular contributor to Pottery Making Illustrated. She lives in Golden, Colorado.
For more great wheel throwing tips, be sure to download your free copy of Five Great Pottery Wheel Throwing Techniques: Tips on Throwing Complex Pottery Forms Using Basic Throwing Skills.