I’ve been dying to get back on the wheel. However, my little adventure in concrete resurfacing and staining took priority, and then slightly messed up my hands for a bit (just blisters, but not great for throwing). I’ve been dabbling in handbuilding (vases and plates) but yesterday I finally got to throw.
As part of my clay testing, I had decided to throw large-ish (for me this is 3-4 lbs of clay) bowls. I love large bowls and I wanted to make sure that any clay I choose throws well in larger quantities. I have to admit that this whole clay testing malarkey is new to me. Since I started taking continuing ed classes in pottery back in 1992, I’ve always used studio clay. This simplifies decision making a great deal, as otherwise there are tons of different clay bodies to choose from. So far, I had been very happy with the B-Mix clay for smaller pieces and hand-building. I therefore approached my throwing session with great excitement.
Excitement quickly turned into frustration, as chunk after chunk of clay refused to center without an extreme fight. Once centered, it threw very stiffly, and was no fun at all. I trashed all but one of the bowls (made from a 3lb lump). “Well heck”, I said to myself (well, that’s not exactly what I said, but you get my drift), “this will not do”. In the past, when I’ve had bad throwing days, I would either blame myself or the clay (sometimes the clay really is to blame as is too stiff for throwing and a bit of “wetting down” will put it right), depending on my mood. I wasn’t sure who to blame this time, but as I DID have another clay body, I figured, lets have a go. Alls I have to lose is face… 😉
I pulled out a bag of Standard 240 and wedged up a 4lb lump. Oh Nelly! What a pleasure! Centered quickly, threw fluidly. Nice. Nice. Nice! I ended up with 3 large bowls and a much better mood. I can’t wait to repeat my test throwing of smaller pieces with the 240 but I am so in love. Nick preaches caution but I think I’m gonna order me another 50lbs of the stuff.