Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Flatness of Roundness

So I finally got around to doing some platters.
I don't really like doing platters.
Sort of like how I don't like doing bowls.
Not my best forms.
So anyways, you get some clay and center it on the wheel:

Now, instead of going up, we go down.
It's sort of strange for going in either direction takes a bit o'skill.
Going down means putting some pressure on the shoulder of that mound thingy and making the clay expand outwards.
Centrifugal force also helps here as the wheel is spinning at around a GAGILLION rpms:

The thing is you can't get all that clay flattened down at once.
It sort of takes four or five compression cycles to get it where it's in the Platter Zone(PZ):

Once you're in the PZ, you have to start to worry about the center and the flatness. Believe it or not, moving the clay outwards and down is not easy.
Sort of an isometric workout.
If you know what I mean.
The clay also doesn't want to be flat.
It tends to want to be convex, all humpty in the middle, so you got to work it flat, or close to flat.
Then you can start to work on the sides:

Once you get here, it's pretty easy going.
Except that now you have to slow the wheel down to half a GALLION rpms for the outer section is like spinning way faster than the inner part.
Centrifugal force here is doing it's thing and control becomes your primary concern as the outer rim wants to fly off into orbit.
Luckily my Jedi skilz came back after I made a mess of the first platter I tried to do.

No, not done yet.
Because of the exposed surface area, the clay dries in different sections. The outer part dries faster than the middle part, so cracking and shrinkage is a problem.
I also have a habit of making these things really thin, so thin that I have problems removing them from the round bat thingy.
Tomorrow we'll see how it goes.
Let me tell you, making these things is a work out, if you're not in platter making shape, which I'm not.
In platter making shape I mean.
When doing bigger platters, you are pressing down with almost your whole forearm, trying to get that clay down and flat.
The good thing is that I've got more ideas on how to glaze these puppies.
Having a flat surface is easier to work with and I'm ready to try some new stuff out.
Maybe something special:


John Romeo Alpha said...

Pedagogical Sketchbook!

Steve A said...

If the stress of making these gets too great, read an old JRA post and follow his advice to "Get Up, Go Ride."