A former student, Maya Jaafar, dropped in to class a couple of weeks ago, and she was making the coolest little dishes! I asked her to show the class what she was doing, and she told us, "This is for people who don't like to center." Here's how it works:
Take a ball of clay, between 1/2 a pound and 1 pound - Captain Obvious says, More clay for a bigger dish! - and flatten it into a thick disc. Press this to the wheelhead.
With a rolling pin, roll the disc out into a roughly round shape, about 3/16 inch in thickness.
Now impress this stuck-down slab with a texture. I have rollers for this purpose but anything will do.
Using a needle tool and the turning of the wheel, cut away any irregularities to the circle. I cut away far more than I needed to for this one; making future dishes, I only had about 1/4 inch extra all the way around.
Run your needle or wooden knife under the outer 1/2 inch or so if the textured circle, pushing it upward to make a shallow wall. Then smooth the edges with a sponge or chamois. You will need to cut the dish off the wheel, the same as if you had thrown it.
And voilà: little spoon rests, saucers and pet dishes. Simple, sweet, and neat. I learn so much from students! Maya also writes a blog, called Maya Makes Things. Check it out!