Next, I had to select a texture using rubber mat templates. I went with a basket weave, but I saw some neat plates being made using a wood grain texture as well. Placing the rubber mat, texture side down on our clay, we applied generous pressure using a rolling pin to imprint the clay. I decided that I wanted to clean up the center of the plate, so I used the rib to smooth it out.
Once smoothed out, I had to manipulate the flat clay into the plate shape, with the raised edges. We did this by lifting the clay from the board and placing it on a piece of foam rubber. Taking the clay mold I used to outline the center of the plate I gently pushed down the center to gain the desired angles for the edges.
For a little added decoration, I decided to stamp two flowers in the center, then add balls in the middle using the “score and slip method” – scratching the surface of the joining sides and encouraging the molecules to bind with a little water. The final step before firing was to do an underglaze. I chose red, as opposed to my normal favorite color blue, to shake things up. I tried to add a little detail with different shades of red in the flower, but it wasn’t working as well as it does when I am painting on dried and pre-fired pottery.
Two weeks later, I picked up the fired product from VisArts, and I have to admit that I hate it. They did not apply a top, glossy glaze, so it looks like a hideous elementary school project. There are also very aesthetically unpleasing raised marks on the plate where it rested on spikes in the kiln. Oh well, now I have an excuse to throw a Greek dinner party just so I can yell, “OPA!”, and smash this project on the ground. And from now on, I think I’ll stick to the paint-your-own pottery studios.