The plate is one of my favorite forms. It’s the stalwart workhorse of the kitchen and a key player on the daily tablescape. The plate, with its wide-open face, is the most direct framework for the food we eat. In many ways, I use my vessels as canvases for bold decoration—coupling quiet forms with gestural, yet decidedly controlled, graphic patterning. Over the years I’ve been refining this patterning to purposefully separate the space of the vessel into places of tension and balance. These spaces are designed to be engaging when the vessel is empty and to work in harmony with the food when plating the meal.

1 Throw an 11–12-inch dinner plate. Make the bottom ½–¾ inch thick. 2 Use a wire tool to cut and soften the rim. Trim a foot once it’s leather hard.

3 Try different tools to create a variety of textures on the plate. 4 Use your hand to remove any burrs and a soft rib to smooth the texture.

5 Make custom stickers with a sheet of paper and rows of masking tape. 6 Sketch shapes onto the stickers, then cut them out. Affix the stickers in a design.

7 Hold the plate upright over a wide bucket and pour slip across the surface. 8 Once the slip is dry, remove the stickers and clean up any edges with a sponge.

9 The design can work in harmony with the food when plating the meal.

From the Pottery Making Illustrated July/August 2016 issue.