Making a Jiggered & Altered Plate with Deb Schwartzkopf

In this video, Deb Schwartzkopf shares her techniques for streamlining plate production using a mold system along with a tool from industry: a jigger. But never fear, Deb also shows how she alters her jiggered plates to keep that handmade feel! (Scroll down for more!)


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Runtime: 20 minutes

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The Mold System

Deb starts out the video explaining the ins and outs of the mold system she uses. The beauty of this system is that each mold locks into a special key on the wheel head which keeps the mold steady while using the jigger. Though Deb uses a store-bought mold making system, with a little ingenuity, this part of the process could easily be done using traditional mold making techniques.

The Jigger

Next Deb walks through preparing clay for jiggering, sharing secrets for how to get the best results. Although it looks simple, this system takes a little trial and error to master and Deb shares all the tricks she has learned to help you achieve success. You’ll learn how to use a gentle touch to avoid tearing, how to trim the rim without damaging your plaster bat, and a great trick for preventing slumping in the kiln.

Altered to Handmade Perfection

Deb rounds out the video by sharing her techniques for altering the plates when they come off the mold. You’ll learn how to make the horseshoe and the triangle plate, how to add clay to further enhance the handmade look, and how to finish the rims for a polished look.

About the Author

Deb Schwartzkopf was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Alaska in 2002. She worked for studio potters in the Anchorage area, which gave her a strong foundation to spring from. Deb focused on glazes for a year of independent study at San Diego State University; after which she completed a Masters of Fine Arts at Penn State University in 2005. She went on to teach at institutions such as: Ohio University, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, University of Washington, and University of Georgia’s study abroad program in Cortona, Italy. Deb has worked nationally and internationally at places such as the Archie Bray Foundation (MT), Mudflat Studios (MA), The Clay Studio (PA), Pottery Northwest (WA), Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts (ME), Sanbao in Jingdezhen, China, and the Residency for Ceramics-Berlin, Germany. Since 2002, Deb has taught over eighty workshops and exhibited work locally and abroad. She moved back to Seattle in 2009 and bought a house/studio in 2013. Since then Deb has created a beautiful, communal pottery studio where she instructs community clay classes and workshops. Deb, studio assistants, and people participating in classes all work in clay there. Together, they keep the wheels turning!

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