Saturday, November 14, 2009

Slab Plates

A student, Martha Mixon, recently brought in some slab plates she had been working on using these square cardboard plates that you can buy at the grocery store. My version is in B-mix 10, and carries the impression of a lace doily on half of the plate.
This is not a new idea, of course, and I have used it often with kids' classes, but I had forgotten about it, and the shape is new. I like square plates better than round, anyway, and if I am going to make round plates, the wheel is a better choice. The key to slab work, IMHO, is to keep the slabs nice and thick -- thicker than your first inclination, by a lot. So many slab-built pots -- plates and platter especially - end up feeling flimsy, fragile, and cheap, just because they are too thin.
I press the slab into the cardboard mold using a sock filled with sand, and wrapped in an old bit of nylon hose.
This avoids (mostly) causing lumpy fingerprints that have to be tediously ribbed out afterwards. It's also important, once the plates are leatherhard, to remove them from the molds and lightly paddle the edges, to help prevent cracking.
Thanks Martha! I am thinking of celadon for these; or else copper red in the texture only, and otherwise, just soda: a riskier choice, as my reds have not developed well in the soda kiln. But if it turned out...


Linda Starr said...

Lightly paddle the edges, I have to remember that. I have a hard time knowing how thick to make stuff, sometimes it's too thin and then sometimes I think it is too thick. Once I get to me new studio I will use my slab roller and then I'll have more uniformity. thx for the tip.

Unknown said...

So, how thick did you roll the clay for these plates? Thanks:)

Lori Watts said...

Yhicker than you might think...probably 3/16ths of an inch. I hate a flimsy plate.