It can be tempting to sit down at the wheel and just throw whatever comes out of my fingers. I must admit this happens a fair amount. However, the best sessions are those where I have time to sit down and really work on something.
Last weekend I had lots of time to consecrate to the pot shop. I looked back over the list of objects I'd like to make and settled in to work on a set of dishes for a friend who is just moving into an apartment. I began by making mugs and a teapot.
Making mugs is a great exercise - if you're a beginner, you'll find that making cups that are the same size is difficult and that getting a handle on making handles can also be tough. But for me, the biggest question when I make a set is actually, what will they be like when they are glazed? So my rule is to make 6 cups in hopes of having 4 prettily glazed beasts out of the batch.
Making teapots is an even better excersize for me. There are more pieces involved and I really need to think about the shape. A Paris potter once told me you should always make a drawing before throwing your piece. I suspect this is good discipline, and it's something I should and sometimes do. In this case I sat down to throw with Benjamin Cortez's teapot in mind, but clearly I should have drawn it before I started the wheel spinning! There I was throwing the thing, concentrating, but....
... check my last post, and you'll see Cortez teapot is totally different. I've since tried thinking that pot through, complete with drawing. I think that pot is made by throwing a vase shape, which is then turned on its side, while the neck of the base is turned up a bit to form the spout.
This time, I decided the pot-bellied thing I'd created was still kinda cute, so I kept it, even though it didn't go with the mugs I'd made. The teapot wasn't large enough to support those cups, so I made 6 more smaller ones.
All in all, I was verysatisfied with the whole process. When making a set, some pieces are left to dry a bit (not too much!) while other pieces are thrown. Some pieces are trimmed while others are drying. Slowly it all comes together as a lid is made, handles are attached, the spout goes on. Finally, everything is finished and I can step back to look at them sitting there on the shelf, like a bunch of friends at a picnic.
Finished, you say? Well, soon, when the tricky glazing is done!