Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pie Pan and Cups

Last night was one of the most productive wheel nights I've had at pottery for a long time. In three hours I managed to make a big 15 inch pie pan and 7 cups.

It was my first time making a pie pan but I found out it's very similar to making a large plate. I needed about 4 kilos for a 16 inch pan (15 inch once its fired and glazed, it will shrink)
I needed the wooden cover for the wheel because this is such a heavy piece it has to dry overnight before being removed from the board so it will stay straight and unwarped. The pan could technically stay on the wheel overnight but other students wouldn't be able to use it and it dries better on the wood. I used nabe clay since I will be baking with it and possibly using it over a flame.
To start I needed to pound the clay out with my fist. Starting from the middle and working my way out. I left about 1 cm of clay at the base. I drew a blue chalk line on the wood board to mark the 15inch mark so I would know how far to stretch the clay out. Here's what it looks like after pounding it out. Now it's time to wet it down and start smoothing out the lumps.

I used a smooth wooden tool with slightly rounded edges to even the bottom and rim out. Arai Sensei asked me about what type of pies I would be making and advised me to keep the pan slightly thick. If the walls are too thin the pie will cook too quickly on the outside and not enough on the inside. Glad he pointed this important point out! In the end the walls are about 8mm thick but will be carved slightly afterward.

In the end it looked like this :) After smoothing I cleaned off the clay along the sides and took the wire cutter and ran it through the bottom. It will now sit for about 18 hours before being taken off and let to dry a little longer before carving.

It actually turned out better than I thought and was easier to make than I imagined. Can't wait to make some pies with this!

After the pan I had plenty of time to make some other things. Since my teapot parts were still too soft to carve I decided to make some cups. I used red shigaraki clay (high iron content) which is one of my favs. It's smooth and silky and so easy to mold on the wheel.

In the end I made 8 cups but scrapped one since it was too small.

I made all different shapes and sizes. Some I'll put handles on and others I'll leave them as is. Here they are from a side view. These will go to my teachers at work as going away presents. I made them pretty thin so I hope they won't warp.

On a side note my big vase is drying nicely. Last night Arai Sensei asked me to help him move it to the kiln room to dry more. I thought it would still be pretty heavy but it was much lighter than I expected. He placed it on top of the kiln since the heat will help evaporate the moisture. He said about three more weeks until it can be bisque fired.

So far my to do list is coming along quite nicely. I have changed it slightly, 2 teapots and a pie pan instead of a nabe pot. And I have about 1/3 of the cups I need (if they turn out well) I've also started on my chopstick holders at home. I'll try to get to pottery this weekend to work on my teapots, so let's hope it won't rain!

Until Next time!

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