February 14, 2010

Lisa: platters

This is the present that ate Christmas. I don't know why I thought it would be really easy and inexpensive to just throw together a homemade pottery platter for my mom, but I did. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose. On the bright side, 1) she ended up with two awesome and humongous new platters to replace some that went missing from storage, 2) I got to force Sarah to spend a lot of quality time with me, and 3) I think I also get to check "sign up for a pottery class" off my list.

We didn't get any photos of our first session at Rob's studio, but we spent a lot of time squeezing blocks of clay into flat slabs, cutting those into circles (for the platter bases), turning those on the wheel and scraping them with spirals, extruding more clay for the platter sides through a homemade template on a Play-Doh contraption on steroids, and painstakingly attaching and shaping the sides on the wheel.

Rob let the platters dry in his studio for a while, and then put them through their first firing. He's the one who suggested we make two platters--so that if one broke in the kiln, we'd still have a presentable gift for my mom. Rob's watchful eye and expertise kept them both intact, and I brought the fired platters home and sanded off the really rough bits.

Back at the studio for our second session, Sarah (who was really sick and a SUPER good sport) and I chose glaze colors and mixed them up by hand while Rob built a form to hold the glaze. It had to be wide and deep enough to dip the platters into, but also maximize the amount of glaze we had. There is a surprising amount of math that goes into pottery-making. We wiped down the sanded platters and carefully dipped them into the glaze. While they dried a bit, we bailed gallons and gallons of glaze back into the garbage-can storage bins. Then we had to scrape the glaze off the bottoms of the platters so the final firing wouldn't melt them onto the kiln shelves.

Rob put in one more marathon kiln session, and the platters were done! Dishwasher, microwave, and even oven safe (if they would fit in any of those handy devices), and large enough to serve four children...to a table of hungry child-eating monsters.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Thank you again to Rob Marquardt, scientist-artist, and most of all to Sarah, for helping me to bring even my most ridiculous ideas to fruition.

Posted by lisa at February 14, 2010 06:25 PM

That was really fun. Sorry about my sickness.

Posted by: sarah on February 23, 2010 07:36 PM
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