I start with a pound and a half of clay, and throw a thick plate, about 6 inches in diameter. It's best to have a well-defined rim, as the rim will be softened a bit by the stretching in later steps.
Then, using about a one-pound ball of clay, I throw a bottomless cylinder also about six inches in diameter, and about 2 1/2 to 3 inches tall.
When removing the cylinder from the wheel, I gently press it into an oval shape.
I then peel up the thick plate and gently slap it down on the table surface, alternating sides until it is oval shaped. Next, i place toilet paper on the oval plate, and place the oval cylinder on top of it, stretching if necessary.
To make the "roof" of the butter dish, I roll out a slab and cut it into an oval a little larger than the cylinder. After letting this breathe for ten or fifteen minutes (handbuilding is all about timing!) I place it on top of the partially constructed butter dish, and stretch it downwards into the cylinder. I let it rest until early leatherhard in this postion, and then remove it, scratch & slurry the top of the cylinder, and flip it over so it creates a domed top. I trim off the excess and then, using a paddle and a gummy rib (the really bendy red ones are the best), I smooth out the seam. All it needs is something to grip, and we're done!