Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How to make a wavy bowl

My wavy bowls are initially formed upside down. I drape a circular slab of clay over a padded base so that I don’t get any hard creases and carefully manipulate the slab into five waves, paying attention to the balance of the form. Once the clay reaches the point where it’s dry enough to be flexible but not floppy I gently turn it right way up, flatten the base a little and fine tune the shape of the waves. The finish of the edges is important in conveying a sense of delicacy, so I pinch the clay to a gentle taper and smooth it off with fingers and a damp sponge.
I always have trouble knowing how to describe my construction techniques for such things as exhibition entry forms. These bowls and a lot of my other pieces are technically slab formed, but “slab” carries connotations of heavy, chunky work. My slabs are quite fine, usually about 2-3 mm. thick, and don’t fit this mental image in the slightest.