I showed you the Big Tall Thing I made in my recent studio clay class.
As you know, it was constructed from a large slab of clay, colored with underglazes by using stencils, rolled into a cylinder, and turned into a vessel. When I cut the shape for the vessel there was a small area left. What could I do with it? I liked the decoration of it, surely there was some use it could be put to. My teacher had a suggestion.
First, I used the 4″ tile cutter to create a square. Here is what happened next a description of the technique she showed me.
You take the tile (which is still flexible clay – this won’t work if the clay has stiffened so that the shape is rigid, but it also should not be fresh wet clay right from the bag – use your judgement) and set it on a piece of foam rubber, or a pillow. Something soft.
Then you take a piece of wood, or something rigid like that, smaller than the square. You need this piece to fit on top of the square with about 1″ or so space all around. I used a 2″ square small block of wood for my 4″ clay square.
Then, you take this block and center it, resting it lightly on the tile. Pounce it down on the tile, using some force. You take it down and up in one quick motion (not lifting it from the tile) – you don’t press it on the tile, you pounce it. Or bounce it it. I don’t know, but in any case, the tile sinks into the pillow, the portion covered by the wood block staying horizontal and the sides of the tile bending up.
Then you do it one more time, same motion, maybe a little harder. Carefully separate the wood block from the tile.
What you end up with is a shallow dish with raised sides, like this (note – this view is after the piece was glazed). You can see how the sides were forced up and the mark of the block.
Here is a top view.
I let the dish dry for about a week, and then it was bisque fired. Then I waxed the bottom to form a resist (as you know there cannot be glaze on the bottom of a piece or it will adhere to the kiln shelf when fired…very bad thing) and dipped it in a clear glaze. Here is a view of the bottom after the glaze firing:
It’s a simple but very effective technique. Other people in the class made dishes using this technique, and not all of them were squares – some people made long rectangular items, for instance. You just choose your pouncing block according to the shape of your dish. I think you could do the same thing with a circular piece of clay and using a ball, say.
I liked the look of this and I will be using the technique again, I am sure.