It’s been a long time since I’ve had a day of trimming bowls. This one was long, 83 thrown and turned, 2 casualties, 2 days, sore fingers. Movements become so mechanical when creating batches on this scale, every motion when throwing happens in order and my mind is set firmly on what’s playing in the background, (podcast suggestions are very welcome). The pictures in todays sequence are as follows. The first photograph shows the small bowls freshly thrown, their inside surfaces scraped into smooth half spheres. They dry quickly, especially with their thin rims. As soon as the rims are just touch dry I’ll slip them over so the thicker, wet bases have time to dry overnight. The second picture shows how I leave them, usually with a sheet of plastic draped loosely overtop.
I make these with enough clay in the bases so there’s ample material for a tall, well-defined foot ring. Making sure they stay at just the right condition over the course of the day when turning is a skill in itself too. Every time I get up to fetch another boards worth of pots I check the unturned feet to see how dry they are, if they’re edging towards too hard I’ll spray them with water and if they’re still too damp they’re placed high up on shelving where the air is warmer.
The third photograph shows my wheel packed full of trimmings with one of the bowls fastened tight. I periodically empty my tray into a bucket that will eventually be filled with water so they can slake down and be recycled. I keep using a mirror even for this part as the reflection shows a perfect side view of the outer curve of the bowl. The lumps of clay I use to attach the pot quickly dry out, so every now and then I submerge them in water and set those three aside for a moment, this makes them soft again so I’m not constantly using new clay for the lugs that hold the pot in place.
And finally, the bowls all laid out to turn bone dry overnight after being trimmed. The boards feel so light when picked up after all the pots have been turned. Almost half the weight from each piece is removed during this process and they feel as light as a feather compared to how they first started on the wheel.