Platters: Four Approaches to Making and Decorating Plates

It is a common misconception to think that plates are easy forms to make because the challenge of achieving height isn’t there. But plates can be tricky. Issues of warping and cracking can be common if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, in this Ceramic Arts Daily Presents Compilation, we’ve gathered four talented artists to demonstrate how they approach plates. (Scroll for more.)

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Runtime: Approximately 3 hours

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Learn How to Make Perfect Plates!

In this brand-new footage, Ben Carter makes a handbuilt oval platter; Adam Field throws a plate with a carved and altered rim; Forrest Lesch-Middelton throws a large platter with screen-printed decoration and a lobed rim; and Meredith Host throws a porcelain plate perfect for colorful decoration. Not only do these artists share insights into how to get plates structurally correct, they also share great decorating techniques that will help you complete the process.

Forrest Lesch-Middelton – Large Thrown Plate with Darted Rim and Screen Printed Decoration

Forrest Lesch-Middelton makes the largest wheel-thrown plate on the compilation, beginning with 12.5 pounds of clay, and gives great advice on how to center this much clay without wrecking your wrists. Then he shares how he uses a process similar to how he throws cylinders to make a plate with a wide rim that can be darted and altered. He finishes it all off with his signature screen printed image transfer.

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Ben Carter – Drape-Molded Oval Platter

If you’d like to make a large platter that isn’t round, using a slab and a slump mold can be just the ticket. Ben Carter makes this mold with insulating foam board, and creates a lovely undulating rim with sewn fabric pouches. Next Ben shares how he decorates the platter with slip, underglaze, and sgraffito, discussing subtle details like placement of motifs to move the eye around the composition to contrasting shiny surfaces with matt. Watching these techniques it is easy to imagine different ways to personalize them – the sky’s the limit!

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Meredith Host – Dinner Plate with Stenciled Underglaze Decoration

Meredith Host’s wheel-thrown plates begin as large clay discs with lots of supporting clay, which allows her to get excellent compression to avoid cracks. The excess clay is lathed away at just the right time in the trimming process. She then explains and demonstrates how the continuous curve on the top surface of the plate not only makes a great canvas for decoration, but also helps in the structural support.

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Adam Field – Thrown Plate with Altered and Carved Rim

Plates require more clay that a lot of other forms and Adam Field starts off with great tips on how to set the clay up right from the beginning to make your job easier. Throughout the demo, Adam discusses structural considerations that he takes to make his plates function as beautifully as they look. In addition he shares some nifty tips on some improvised tools he uses from items that most of us would just throw away. Rather than decorating the center part of his plate, Adam Field chooses to decorate the rim with his carving and shares the secrets to setting up his intricate repeating patterns.

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