Pottery trimming is one of my favorite parts of the ceramic process. Whether you are trimming bowls or platters, trimming pottery can really refine a form. But lately I have been a little bored with my typical trimmed feet. So I was stoked to see Noel Bailey’s pottery trimming process in the Ceramics Monthly archives.
In today’s post, I am sharing Noel’s variation on the typical pottery trimming technique with you. This one is definitely going on my must try list! How about you? –Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
Noel Bailey begins by throwing tightly made porcelain mugs in the shape of simple cylinders on the potters’ wheel. Once they have firmed up, he flips them over and trims a distinctive undulating foot rim on the base. To do this, he uses a round tool he modified from an auto repair shop. Tools suited for this process can also be made by grinding down a needle tool to dull it or grinding down a metal dental tool to a dull, smooth point. Bailey pushes the tool into the foot rim from a vertical direction (1). This splits the rim into an inner and outer rim. He proceeds by taking a fettling knife and holding the point horizontally against the outer foot rim. As the potter’s wheel spins, he cuts into the outer foot moving up and down slowly to create an undulating line (2). He removes unwanted clay (3) and smooths out the visible, undulating outer foot rim (4). He then smooths the inner foot rim and leaves it alone since this is what the mug will rest on.