Wheel Throwing Video: Buttered Up – How to Make a Wheel Thrown and Altered Butter Dish on the Pottery Wheel

We smashed the lid on our butter dish about three years ago and I have been meaning to make another one ever since. And today’s video just might have given me the motivation I needed to finally get to it! In this clip, Keith Phillips shows us how to make a thrown and altered classic American butter dish. It’s a fun project involving both thrown and handbuilt components. As Keith explains, butter sizes vary depending on your location, but his idea can be adapted to whatever size you need. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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  • Nice technique! But the sound is so bad, it’s distracting

  • Sound of the voiceover with silence in between works just fine on my computer too. Thanks for the technique!

  • Could it be that the sound going “on and off” due to the way it was recorded? Seems to me you turned on the mike when you wanted to talk, and off when you wanted the film to do the talking. Great idea; I think I saw this in Pottery Making Illustrated a while ago. I found the video much easier to understand. Thanks, Keith. I received a butter dish order yesterday. The customer said she would prefer a rectangular one if possible. Now — it’s possible!! Yay!

  • The sound came through just fine. I like the part about using slip without scoring. Thanks!!

  • This is something I’ll definitely try… thanks!

  • Sound was excellent. Thanks for a great video. What clay are you using in this video?

  • I enjoyed this video gives me great ideas and using my own creative ideas. the video was great had no problems. Thank you for the how to do ideas. I loved it.

  • Could you explain how the feet where formed. I like the
    combination of thrown pieces and handbuilt pieces it opens up possibilities I hadnt thought about before

  • sounded fine here. great demo too thanks

  • Thanks for sharing this great technique. Beautiful design. Would like to see the finished item, too.

  • Great Demo! I liked the way you slowly worked each piece so that they would fit when finished. Elegant solution!

  • thank you so much. In Turkey we wait heardly for the next video to come out because we do not have pottery workshops where we can improve. You helped us so much. We can find our own way since you show us the main tecknics. Thanks. inci

  • I have been a potter for 30 years! Everyone wants a butter dish, and boy, have I made a bunch…all styles! This concept of throwing both pieces @ the same time to assure fit is fabulous!!! I will make one this afternoon.

    Thanks for the vidio Kieth!! Need to measure sticks of butter in the West now…
    Nancy Zoller

  • Nice demo. Thank you for sharing. I’ll go take a look at your work.

  • I loved your demo. Hope you’ll make a fll lengh video.

  • GREAT demo! I’ve been trying different ways to make butter dishes/cheese bells in the past year as well, and this technique is fanTAStic! What better way to be SURE the lid and plate will fit together than to do them at the same time? THANK YOU!

  • Nice. Thanks. No problems with sound at all.

  • Me encanta esta tecnica,, es maravillosa

  • Glad you all enjoyed the video!

    Markie – I was using Loafer’s Glory from Highwater clays for this piece. It’s a white cone 10 stoneware that I think has a nice toasty undertone in the wood/soda kiln.

    This was originally published in the Nov/Dec 2009 Issue of Pottery making illustrated. The finished piece can be seen here: http://blog.mudstuffing.com/?p=617

    Lynne, the feet are formed by rolling out a coil of clay, and slicing it into 1″ pieces. They are attached to the corners and pressed on the ends. There is another video I have on making square mugs that shows the feet a little more in detail here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuXcMEebDBI

  • Thanks Keith…Great video and your techniques were smoooth as butter!

  • Excellent video…..well photographed, good explanations…..*and*…….a nifty new way to make a covered dish. Good job, Keith! 🙂

  • This method should be good for making a covered cheese ball dish. I hope to dry both. Thanks

  • Thanks for sharing this technique. Very inspiring! I’ve been trying this technique starting today while looking at the pictures in the PMI magazine and I am having trouble undercutting the pieces carefully. Watching the video helps clarify a few details not available in a magazine article. I’m glad the video is available right when I needed it. I’ve been using a gooey-sandy body, but I think I need to switch to a smoother porcelain-like body. I’m looking forward to the character these dishes will have.

  • Very good demo… This way of construction can be modified to make a tray or any project. I will try this tech and see what I can make using this great idea… Thanks

  • i would really like to know what clay body you are using. the technique is very cool. personally i would have loved more description as you went along. thx.

  • sound was really bad, too bad cause the rest was quite cool

  • Hi Keith, what I’d like to know is how you fire it. Do you fire lid and base separately or if together, do you leave the inside of the base unglazed and the bottom of the lid also unglazed so that they don’t stick together, etc etc,. What is your glazing and firing technique for those butter dishes ? I know from my experience, that even for altered forms like this it is always better to fire them together, otherwise they don’t fit so well together anymore afterward. So it would be nice to hear or read your take on that. Thanks.

  • Hi Genevieve, normally I fire lids on pots, however in this case, firing them together isn’t going to do much except save space in the kiln. It’s such a loose fitting lid – there’s usually a 1/4″ difference between the lid and the walls of the bottom dish – that I fire them seperate and never have issues with them not fitting. This way I can glaze the bottom of the dish so it’s easy to clean.

  • Hi Keith, Thanks so much for the great video!! One of my students found it and threw the pieces last night with intent to finish tomorrow night. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around what she was doing… so here I am, as she shared the link. Since I love throwing & altering, I can’t wait to try this.. but I will used thrown slabs for the additions.

    I’d love to see one of your finished butter dishes. I went to your etsy store to take a peek and there wan’t one. I’ll look again in the future. Thanks again!!

  • Tried this today – I’ve been looking for a way to throw a rectangular butter dish and this is perfect! I need a little practice, but its a really natural approach.
    Thanks Keith!

  • Thanks you, for share this video…i will tray to do “something” with this technique! =)

  • Thanks for this demo…it fits perfectly with my style of work and gave me one more great project for my students! Thanks

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