[note! the Casserole from the previous post is done- I am adding photos to the previous post]
Tumblers- harder to make than you’d think!
I had a request for tumblers at the last Art Fair and I thought, “Yeah, those are great! No trimming, no handle, I’ll just knock some out!”
Well, I thought wrong. The problem always with porcelain is getting it tall and keeping it narrow. Then, after that, getting the shape I wanted.
I wanted shapes that were slender but not tippy, graceful and elegant yet would still feel comfortable and balanced in one’s hand. Usually, if you make something that is right for the hand it also appeals to the eye. I thought they should look like they were meant to be tumblers, not mugs missing their handles. Lastly, I had to throw it larger to compensate for shrinkage and have it look right once it came out of the cone 10 firing.
I started with 1 pound of clay which absolutely should have been enough but I had a lot of trouble getting the base walls thin enough to get them big enough; taking Grolleg’s shrinkage rate of near 15% into a account.
But actually it really is okay to have a slightly thicker wall at the base for porcelain as it warps so darned easily. I learned this from Xiao Xiang Bi.
I also realized after much puzzlement, that one of the reasons my mugs and tumblers were warping when I wired them off was that the bottoms were so darned thin that the wire was compressing the base- there was not enough clay to resist that compression.
So annoying until I figured it out! Now I leave enough clay down there.
I have a few tumblers that I love and take inspiration from:
This one by Lester is just so beautifully slim and the painted on decoration is so perfectly suited to the shape.
I have a very simple shino glazed piece by Rita and it may be the one I use the most. I was feeling lousy one day long ago at Lill and she brought me tea in it and said to keep it and I think it’s just perfect the way it curves ever so slightly in at the top.
Since then, I have made a couple more “birds on a wire” tumblers and because the wire is so hard to get straight and thin, I actually incised a line while I was throwing it and then when it was almost dry, inlaid slip into it. * Then I added the little dabs that I touched up into birds. I thought I took photos before they sold but I did not. I will just have to make more!
*This is done by painting slip into the line and then scraping off the surface with a metal rib leaving a very clean line