Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Good Day for Platters

I don't really make platters. I mean, I don't not make platters; I'm not morally opposed to platters. But they are messy to make, slinging a lot of slurry around, and they have a really high loss rate due to warping, cracking, and big bubbly blobs of soda glaze landing on them. (Anything wide is at greater risk of big bubbly blobs.)

But it's February, and these platters can dry for months if need be; and anyway I just felt like it. Truth be told I really just wanted large surfaces to decorate!

I started with the largest one. I was playing with different methods of slip application, trying to get different qualities of line. I used a standard metal-tip slip bottle, a ziplock bag with a corner snipped off, and a pastry tube with a small star tip. You can see the lines here:
L to R: Pastry Tube, Slip Bottle, Ziplock baggie
I had in my mind an image sort of like a Japanese cherry-blossom painting; like this

or this
or this

I wanted to capture something of that feeling, but not try to simply make a slip-duplicate. They have a loose/tight quality...a perfect imperfection...that was the feeling I was looking for.

I started with my new best friend, food coloring:

 Then I used the pastry tube, which made the thickest line.
On to the thinner lines:

And finally to the blossoms. Here I had a decision: I could go with the more literal slip-embroidery look, or just suggest blossoms with slip dots. I went with option B.

So....hmmm. Not sure if it reads in the photograph, but that is some really high relief. (Click the photo to see a larger version. The depth of the relief is evident) It's wonderful and gooey and very appealing, but now I am wondering if it will compromise the function of the platter.
Think, think, think, says Pooh.

Sometimes, as it dries, slip flattens out a bit.  Maybe that will happen in this case. If it doesn't, I can still try sponging the slip-relief. That will flatten it out, and also soften up the image...for good or ill.

Still have two platters to decorate!

PS. Here's the beginning of the next one, which will have sprigs and a scalloped border of slip dots.


Donna said...

I can't wait to see the finished pieces!

Sheri Bare said...


Barbara Rogers said...

What wonderful slip design...I love the suggestions of cherry blossoms. Hope it comes through all the way for you!

- Cindy - said...

That looks so good. I really wouldn't worry about it compromising function a tiny bit in the name of aesthetics. It might be a bit of a high relief, but I love the way it looks. A glaze that breaks over the relief could also flatten in a bit. Just don't futz with it too much! You can "fix it" on the next one of these you make. Just my two cents...

Crystal said...

I LOVE this! Thanks for the hints. Think I'll try a platter this weekend. My last one ended up with a huge bottom crack but it was too thin. You've inspired me to try again.

Lori Watts said...

Crystal - 2 things: 1) Platters take more clay than it seems like they would. these were 15 pounds. and 2) I compressed the bejesus out of them when I was done pulling, and I will compress the bejesus out of the back sides after I trim them. Best way I know of to head off cracks.

Mountain Heart said...

Lori, These are beautiful! Thank you for sharing! Love you!

Mountain Heart said...

Lori, These are beautiful! Thank you for sharing! Love you!

Mountain Heart said...

Lori, These are beautiful! Thank you for sharing! Love you!

DirtKicker Pottery said...

Hi Lori,
The platter is absolutely gorgeous and I can't wait to see it finished.
I also wanted to let you know that I got my soap and love them! Thanks :)

Frostine said...

I absolutely LOVE the cherry blossom plate! Please show us when it's finished!