Friday, January 2, 2009

Medallion Slap Down

Clay medallions ready for
slapping down (see video below)

I started my morning off decorating some more cups for the Uwharrie Mountain Run, this time moving on to the larger size cups. I had a bucket full of 1 1/4 pound balls of clay I was planning to turn into more cups when my youngest son, Levi, showed up ready to work. So we went over to the "slab room" and started working on medallions for the race. These are small roundish slabs of clay that will be fitted with string to hang around the necks of the 8-miler finishers of the race. I need to make 195.

Levi rolled out a large slab of clay using a full bag of Highwater Clay's Brownstone, and, using a plastic bottle with the top cut off, started making the medallions, using the bottle like a cookie cutter. I took the medallions from him and smoothed the edges then slapped them down on ware boards. Slapping down the medallions takes good aim and consistent pressure as you guide the medallion of clay toward the ware board with just enough force that it "slaps" down on the board aligning the clay to keep it from warping.

We worked so well together that we had most of the pieces done, but I was behind on smoothing edges and slapping down. Levi had to go to the grocery store and pick up some food for he and his sister. They were cooking dinner tonight at their mother's house.

I caught up with the smoothing, then took another hour to brush porcelain slip (two layers) on each one. I had four ware boards with slapped medallions, so I slipped one layer of slip on the slapped clay on each board then went back to the first and slipped again. I think I slapped and slipped some 160 medallions by the time dinner was ready.

I thought I'd share a little clip of my slapping technique. Notice the position of the thumbs, which help guide the slab of clay, preventing one side from hitting unevenly.

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