Why do I say these things?


I said:  wouldn’t it be interesting to try throwing porcelain?

I said:  that clay stash is going to be USED UP before I order any more of anything.

The two sayings, widely separated in time, have come together at last.  Because I have no more clay, except beach clay; and a bag of porcelain.

So first:  intensive cleaning of tools and surfaces.  Some potters introduce coarse dark clay in swirls and marbling to their pristine porcelain for dramatic impact, but I don’t think random smears of buff stoneware would have the same effect at all.

Next:  rehydrate and wedge up the big stony sack which has been ignored for years in the back of the garage.

And then:  the sun has moved round far enough to shine into the conservatory for an hour or two and make it livable while using the wheel.  No more excuses.

Previous attempts have been entirely feeble, so my self-appointed task was to learn the material by trying to make sixteen different shapes.  The only thing which came to mind for sixteen small experimental lumps was posy or bud vases, so off I went (labouring away like a five year old trying to make her os round and her bs sit on the line), using as little water as possible and attempting to make every touch count so as not to overwork the material.  Each fistful of porcelain sneered at me in a well-bred way, asserting its sense of the indignity of being thrown by an amateur.  And then my poky squat little objects went loppy coming off the wheel.

Potters:  is porcelain really as difficult as I am finding it, or am I just making a fuss about nothing?

sixteen blobs


13 responses »

  1. Really interested in your experiences with the porcelain. That’s as a non-potter, but with my art historian’s hat on interested in the 18th century’s ‘pottery’ moment!

    • I can’t imagine how they did their stuff. There have been a few BBC programmes about different aspects of porcelain through history, and it looks as if there is another one coming up shortly.

  2. Porcelain is a nightmare, difficult to throw, difficult to fire successfully. I’ve never managed it.
    Not buying until the stash is gone is commendable. I’ve never managed it.
    Congratulations on both counts.

    • Thank you Pete, glad it isn’t just me. I can’t actually work out how to turn my dreary little vessels without a lot of fandangling with chucks, so the first lot are just going into the kiln with their sins upon their heads, and if they don’t all split and gollop I might try to get a bit cleverer with the second batch.

    • I can’t remember the name of the potter whose work I’m thinking about for the swirls – in fact it looked both elegant and dramatic and reduced the coldness of the dead white porcelain. I don’t know if it weakened the final fabric, but as it was Art with a capital A, not functional pottery, the pieces would be cherished on a display shelf and wouldn’t have to take hard knocks!

    • Hello, thanks for dropping by Minutiae. The raccoon sounds good – I have no gift for modelling so I envy you the skill to do it. My droopy little vases are still drying out. I don’t think any have cracked yet but I have bets against them all getting through bisque firing.

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