Plates have always been a challenge for me. My first instructor was very traditional and refused to show me how to make plates until I had made about 3 dozen casseroles. Ugh. It became a joke, but unfortunately it created a lot of fear around plates and kept me from making them for years.
According to my survey of potters, plates and teapots are tied for the hardest forms to make. Non-potters don’t often understand. The reason is the wide base of the form. The clay has to be well compressed, or it will crack. The foot ring also has to be placed just right or the pot will slump or crack.
I have experimenting with plates on and off over the last few years. But after seeing a call for entry for dinner ware at NECEA, I decided to commit more time and create plates that spoke of me. No small challenge for a potter who likes to heavily alter her work.
I have enjoyed the challenge. They are tough but I am happy to say that I have not had an S-crack yet. After throwing many and some bold experimentation with slip, I finally came up with a design that I really like. While still functional, they still have the suggestion of movement that is strive for in my work. Of course, there are numerous things I want to improve and refine, but life would be boring if stopped improving.
This post includes a few samples of complete sets, along with a prototype tray that I have been working on. I am happy to report that these place settings and the tray were recently accepted to Dining In III at the 18 Hands Gallery in Houston, Texas. This is always a great show. It runs from August 7 through 31.