[Clayart] throwing thin/story

Terry Lazaroff terrylazaroff at gmail.com
Sun Aug 19 14:31:37 EDT 2018

Well said Mel.   

Throwing thin and high firing requires also a very balanced pot.   A thin porcelain is almost like Jelly when températures reach cone 11.   If the pot is not ballanced it will slump on the heavy side. 

The physics of a well thrown pot was the way to go when studying the work of Robbin Hopper.   He explains it well in his book, Form and Function.   


Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: mel jacobson
Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2018 1:26 PM
To: clay
Subject: [Clayart] throwing thin/story

making thin objects on the wheel is an age old
quest.  those items used by the elite societies demanded
thin, very well made objects...the english tea cup is an example.

when we look back on chinese history we note that the
porcelain pieces had extreme delicacy.  bowls were very thin to
be almost translucent.  look at the porcelain pieces made during
the ming.....thin bottles and bowls. then remind yourself..who purchased
them?  elite people.  they were not kitchen ware.

it is rather important to note that most of those pots were trimmed
to be thin.  extreme cutting and trimming was used to make that fine ware.
native porcelain was very difficult to control and throw, so pieces were
made, then trimmed to get the result.  it is still true...porcelain is very
fussy and needs a steady trained hand to be made thin.

the chinese masters trimmed the pots when bone dry.  they used
long thin, very sharp tools.  they still use them.

stoneware clay throws much easier.  and a really fine stoneware with
fine grog or sand will stand up very well to thin throwing.  with the 
of fire clay, china clay, ball clays, then the addition of glass makers 
often produces
a perfect throwing body.

my study for a new cone 6 clay has sure made my awareness of the use
of talc and other non clay fillers in modern factory made clays
almost impossible to throw.  they also crack during hand building.

seeking vitrification has taken away the plasticity of the body...not a good
trade.  that is why i used a earthenware clay as the flux.  it makes the
body better then ever for work.  and adds that brown color that many
have been looking for...(note ad for amaco glazes this month. `glazes
for that reduction stoneware look`...made me smile.  everyone does not 
want white.)

so, the first and most important factor in thin work is the clay body.
it must be extremely plastic, free of junk or stones, and have the ability
to stand up without slumping.  and then have structure that will allow
the heat of the kiln from warping and changing the body.

without question, mel6 clay has those qualities, and looks just like
cone 11 reduction.  but, you must use a stiffer throwing quality
and not let your clay get wet and sloppy.

and, without question, my take would be...learn to throw well at
1/4 inch, and trim a bit more to achieve thin pots.
don't alter your skill and style.  add to it.

mr. uchida, my teacher in japan would advise...`throw perfect pots, know
your thickness...and be consistent.  thin for the sake of thin means 
perfect pots, well made mean everything.`
i have taught that theory my entire adult life.

Mel's Website:  www.melpots.com

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