I have been playing around with throwing bottomless forms and altering them out of round lately. I have been making the corners on my pieces fairly rounded, but seeing this project by Sequoia Miller inspired me to get out my paddle and try to create some sharper corners. So far, I am loving the results. I am excited to play around some more!
In this post, Sequoia demonstrates how he uses wheel throwing and handbuilding techniques to make an angular, lidded jar (the one at the left as a matter of fact). -Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
To make my squared-off jars, first I throw a round starter form on my treadle wheel, which was made by the fabulous Doug Gates. I use about 4.5 pounds of clay, and throw it without a bottom. I also split the rim of the pot to make a ledge for the lid to rest on.
After it sets up for a half day or so, to soft leather hard, I squeeze it from the outside with my fingers and the palms of my hands. If it’s too wet it will collapse, if it’s too dry it will crack. Eek!
After it sets up for another half day, I paddle it from the outside to sharpen up the corners. My paddle is conveniently located on the corner of my wheel. I don’t use the textured side you can see in this photo. I use the other side, which is smooth.
So after paddling the corners and letting it set up again, I add the bottom and the lid, which are both slabs. The bottom is scored and slipped — you can see the extra clay there at the bottom. I use a piece of newspaper to keep the wet seam from sticking to the wareboard. The lid is a compressed slab that I lay in the opening.
I let the bottom and lid set up for a day. Then I facet the outside using the tool you can see there, dragging it horizontally across the pot, top and bottom. The tool is a simple piece of banding steel, bent and taped at the base. This one is from Tennessee and it’s changed my life. Love it (the tool and my life). We made them in my class at Arrowmont. The wall was a little extra-thick to account for the clay I planned to cut away.
After the walls are faceted, I invert the lid so it peaks up rather than down. The rim of the pot will have left an impression in the slab, and I use this as my guide to trim it to fit. After it’s trimmed I paddle
the lid making it more angular. Then I use a rasp to on the edge get the final fit. All this takes a good bit of fussing. The plastic strap in there helps me get the lid out as I work on it. The last step is to use the same banding steel tool to shave the exterior of the lid, giving it the same cut surface as the pot.
Next up I add clay for the handle. This one is a new shape in my ongoing parade of weird handles. I love that it has an interior, this is my new favorite thing about handles/knobs. It’s just a little pinch pot attached to the top.