Sunday, July 25, 2010

Here is my spout

Today I went in for a makeup pottery class and worked on assembling the teapots that I had thrown at my last class.  I enjoy making teapots because they bring together so many different pottery techniques (lids, handles, spouts...) and it always feels like an accomplishment when I make one I really like.  To make a teapot, you throw a teapot body and lid to fit.  I usually throw at least two lids per pot to be sure that I end up with one that fits and that I like.  I also try to throw 3-4 teapots at once, and then try to make all the openings the same size so that I will be able to try out various lids with the different pots.  There are a lot of different styles and types of lids so it can be fun to try out different kinds and see what looks best.  I also throw 2-3 spouts per teapot and try to make a variety of shapes so I can see what looks best with each pot.

After the pots get to be leather hard, I make the handles and assemble the pots.  I pull the handles off a lump of clay and let them dry a bit on a board.  This was the first thing I did when I came in today so that they would have a bit of time to dry and be a bit easier to work with.  The pottery studio where I take classes now also teaches a technique where you pull the handle on the piece, but this is the way I have always done it - I'll have to try the other technique at some point.

While the handles were setting up, I trimmed the lids and the teapot bodies, picking out which lid I thought went best with each piece.  Trimming is just the process of removing extra clay and making the bottom of a piece (where it was originally attached to the wheel) look nice and cleaned up.  Then I picked out which spout I thought looked best and cut it at an angle to attach to the pot.  I hold it up next to the pot to see what angle looks best and how high on the pot to attach it.  You have to be careful that you position the end of the spout higher than the top of the teapot body or you won't be able to fill the teapot all the way without spilling!  I am happy with how these pots turned out (and the other two partially finished today).  I could theoretically let them dry out at this point but I like to keep them wrapped in plastic for another few days to a week so let all the pieces get to the same moisture level before they start drying out - this helps reduce cracking as it dries.

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