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The Craft Guild of Dallas

September 7, 2011

Sunday’s are fun days at the Craft Guild because people from different class days come for the open lab. People share tips on how they make their pieces and ideas for other projects. Plus it is a great social time to talk with other artists and meet new people. Since the new location is in the middle of Addison there are many places to eat so frequently the conversations are continued over at a pub or restaurant. Last Sunday I spent most of the day glazing the many pieces I have been working on, but I did have time for one project that I will explain how to make in this post.

Trays made from the combination of the wheel and hand building are one of my favorite pieces to make since they are easy to build and turn out beautiful. The first few I made cracked because the bottom was two thin or the clay did not stick together well. So make sure to pick a grainy clay and make the bottom at least a quarter inch thick.

I use the clay press in this piece to create a slab for the base. Creating the tray in two separate pieces is easier than throwing such a wide, flat base on the wheel.

While letting the slab dry a bit wedge about a pound of clay for throwing on the wheel. After centering, open the clay all the way to the bat  so that you will have an open bottom that can be placed on the slab to create the sides of your tray.

After the clay is opened to the bottom pull the clay out towards the outside of the bat. In order to keep the clay from slipping off the bat and to continue pulling smoothly, keep the bottom of the clay a little wet. Continue to pull until you have your circle the size you want. Then shape the sides to the form you want. I like to give mine a large lip at an angle to give it an interesting shape. Cut the clay from the bat but make sure to leave it on the bat to dry or you will lose the nice round shape.

After the slab and thrown piece are dry enough to hold their shape, but not so dry that they will crack when manipulated, they are ready to be joined. Place the thrown piece on the slab to trace out a circle. I like to decorate this piece with leaves so after you cut out your circle press the leaves into the slab.


An important part of joining two pieces of clay in hand building is to score and slip them, which means to make hatch marks and then place a mixture of wet clay and water on it. This mixture helps the two pieces to stick together. After scoring and slipping the slab and thrown circle I press them together and kneed out the line between them. I also like to use a sponge to press the two pieces together.

After the two pieces are connected the handles are next. I create a coil from the clay then attach it with the scoring and slipping method. After pressing the coil into the clay pinch the ends off with your fingers to create a nice edge. I created the pattern of the handle by rolling it on a mat.

For the finishing touch I paint on porcelain slip to the bottom of the tray. This will add a contrasting white color that will help the leaves stand out. This last picture is the finished glazed piece made previously with another type of handle.


From → Pottery Projects

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