Saturday, October 18, 2008

New clay, new pots, and that lovely state just beyond 'leather hard'

My local clay had released enough moisture to allow me to wedge it up and prepare to throw pots, and I couldn't help myself even though it was already 7 p.m. or so. I threw my first piece with it. What wonderful clay, I thought. Stands up well on the wheel even when it's soft. So, I kept going next door - to my other workshop where I prepared the clay - grabbing another lump of clay, bringing it to my wedging table, wedging it and slapping it down on my wheel head. I threw three bottles, a couple of pitchers, several lidded containers, a bowl, a casserole, and a vase.

I fall in love with my pots when they are drying on ware shelves all in a row on my ware rack - drying to a stage potters call "leather hard," when enough moisture has left the pot to allow handling the vessel, but still wet enough to manipulate, or add handles. It is really a little beyond leather hard - when there's no sheen left on the clay surface - that the light and shadow fall across their surface with a softness unlike any other stage during the process of making a pot. Here's some pictures of the pieces I threw with the local clay, most of which are a little beyond leather hard. Please click on the photos for a larger image.