Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is this really cheating?

I was reading Gary's blog one day and someone had said to him," if you made a pot in more then one piece it is cheating."
Well- it made me think about all of us who are out there making pots and cheating right and left.
How about those Korean potters? Or the Japanese? Or the fact that pots made in more then one piece have been made here in Seagrove for well over 200 years.
It was not unusual to find potters who made large pots like butter crocks and large jugs throwing them in more then one piece.
Usually the bottom of the pot was made first. Then the top 1/2 was thrown and attached to the bottom piece. Then both pieces would be thrown together to make the completed work.
Mark has been throwing his large pots in at least 2 pieces and some in three.
It just makes sense.
For some it is a better way to control the clay.
It takes skill and practice to throw a good large pot.
It takes skill and practice to throw a large pot in more then one piece.
Cheating- no- smart yes.

This pot was almost 20 inches when wet-

It will shink about 12 1/2 %.
Let's just hope we can keep the glaze on the pot- that would be my worry rather then the way it is made.
Fingers crossed....

Do you cheat? I tried to cheat somehow everyday- how do you stretch the limits of your clay and work?


Alex Matisse said...

We "cheat" like crazy over here at marks and you better believe im gonna keep "cheating" when I get out on my own. I have never even thought of using that word to describe what is such a natural way to make a larger pot.

Ron said...

I used to think the Pottery Police would come knocking to catch me at some of the things I do. So far they haven't showed up.

tsbroome said...

yep, I'm a cheater. when I was in design school my friends called me Tracey Tracer because I couldn't draw and traced everything. I justified the tracing because I could build projects like crazy, just couldn't draw them :) Pottery is hard enough. You gotta make it easier sometimes!


I'm a true believer that there is no such thing as "cheating" in pottery. You must have a solid skill set in order to use any real workaround and have it work consistently and effectively. I used to throw miniatures - and I made my own tiny jigs/templates to get a clean bottom when throwing since they were too small to trim later. It took a lot of time and effort to make the little templates and consistently throw the little pots, using the jigs for the final shape. Someone told me it was cheating because I should have to do the hard work of sanding the bottoms of the small thrown pieces instead - I told them I prefer the term "innovative"!


Meredith - By the way, thank you for the lovely comment (pep talk) about handbuilding over the weekend. I have been putting off some handbuilding projects involving slabs for a while since it's not in my usual comfort zone - I'm going to start them this week after getting your message! I've been planning and laid out a clay "gingerbread house" for my table at the holiday clay sale - even found the most darling little glass candies to go on it when finished. You gave me the push I need to get started building. :) Julia

Linda Starr said...

It all sounds creative to me. I would imagine is must be difficult to get the two or three pieces to match up. I cheat with hand building, there my dirty little (clay) secret is out.

cookingwithgas said...

Cheaters unite!
I think in clay there is no such thing- anything you want to do is wide open.
Making anything out of clay, no matter what it is, let's us all explore the world through our work and helps us figure out who we are at the same time.
It is all fair game.
So keep cheating- keep pushing the limits of clay as far and wide as you can.
I have enjoyed watching all those cheaters out there.
My sister told me once it is not that you "borrow" or "cheat" it is what you do with it.

Michael Mahan said...

I cheat by impressing designs into clay cylinders on my wheel before shaping them into finished pots.


Anonymous said...

"cheating" is definitely the wrong word, i saw that comment over at gary's blog too. i think that gravity imposes a limit on what clay will do and although there are some people who seem to defy physics to some degree, there is still a limit. porcelain is even worse. i've always thrown tall vases in two pieces and agree with you that trying to get the right profile while the pieces aren't connected is an entirely different skill. so cheat cheat improvise

Dirt-Kicker Pottery said...

It's kind of like the saying.. You can work hard or work smart? I personally choose to work smart.

Great blog!

Annapants! said...

It's only cheating if you aren't honest about it. ;p

Jay said...

Cheating? Hah! It used to be called "capping." Joe Owen and Waymon Cole used capping for their big pieces - - check eBay and see what those pieces are selling for now!

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

I can make a pretty big pot, but clay and my strength only go so far. My buddy Matt makes ENORMOUS pots, using a blowtorch and heat gun all the way, and he sez:
"I hate people who quibble about the process and ignore the end product"

Patricia Griffin said...

Whatever works, works!