Sunday, September 26, 2010

throwing slabs

This morning I finished glazing some pots that had been 
sitting around for..... ahem... a while for sure.

When I was done I decided to reprocess some clay and  
break down some harder, sitting around clay, 
to be reprocessed soon.
I found a semi wet bag of clay and decided to make some slabs of clay. 

I was thinking about a class I took at Penland, summer of 1992,
with Charles Malin. 

An earthenware handbuilding tea pot class.
I am traditionally a thrower so this was a shift for me and
to top it off one of my favorite potters was teaching upstairs, Ron Meyers.

So here I was with slabs of clay, a lot of slips and even more beer.

I have to say I loved the class and made some funky and cool tea pots. Not even sure where they are right now but...

So I decided to throw some slabs this morning. I love old traditional methods of working with clay that do not involve too many machines and preciseness. I love things that are not too uniform.
(you should see how I dress)

To throw a slab of clay...
1. pound the clay down with fists until uniform thickness
2. find a clean, relatively flat surface
3. Pick up the clay and as you are throwing it down, you pull one part toward you or away from you to stretch the clay.
4. grab it from the other side and continue, changing directions and flipping the clay over until it is the thickness you desire.

It feel great when doing this... not sure how to describe it really.

The slabs are drying right now, waiting to become something.

I can't wait either, to see what they become.

Thanks rainy day Sunday for this calm.

We went swimming with friends this afternoon and on the way home, Rohan said, "This is a great day for the spirits, playing in the rain".

That kid sure is testing me with his confrontational approach to communicate right now.... BUT he always amazes me with his insights and depth.

Here's for the spirits playing in the rain. I just might join them.


  1. I threw all of my slabs last year, but when I started building these barns I needed really consistent slabs so I got a slab roller. Some days when I am making more simple things I still throw the slabs, I think the process is such a nice preparation before making. How could a beautiful child named Rohan not play in the rain with spirits!!! I'm with him :)

  2. Tracy, I have used slab rollers a lot too! I worked for a potter who made tons, literally, of tiles. We replicated old tiles in churches... anyway.. I love slab rollers too, I just love the satisfaction of throwing them even more and... a big and.... I do not hand build very often! At least not yet!



Your words inspire me to do and be more. So do your thoughts but I just can't read them yet! ;)