I was waiting on a kiln that I knew I wouldn't shut off until after midnight. Meanwhile, I was doing one of my favorite decorating techniques and figured I'd try to capture some of that technique on camera to blog about later. Then I found that I kinda liked one of the images...
...and off I went musing.
Thankfully (it seems from the comments I received) those musings turned out to be channelling the thoughts of lots of other potters and craftsmen out there who seemed to be coincidentally sharing my late-night workshopping. Thanks for reading and for all the kind comments.
Anyway, what I was doing to that pitcher is torching some of the excess moisture out of it so that it wouldn't collapse...
The pitcher's vertical stripes I create by squeezing thick-but-liquid slip over the pitcher and allowing gravity to do its thing -- creating nearly perfectly straight lines.
But I throw my pitchers with walls thin enough so that their weight won't diminish their function. I figure a 2 quart pitcher will gain 4 lbs when filled with liquid. That's enough extra weight that I think it's the potter's job to make the pitcher itself as light as possible.
But a thin pitcher wall means not much structural strength when at the wet clay stage. And when I add the extra moisture of slip to the outside, those thin-walled pitchers collapse every time.
Every time, that is, unless I torch the sides and allow that excess moisture to leave as steam.