For my new collection I planned to create some new serving bowls. I wanted a group of 3 different sizes that were also different shapes - to create a more interesting table scape when grouped together.
After about a month of hard thinking, while I created the rest of the collection that they would have to 'go with' I finally began to feel as if I knew where I wanted to go with them.
Prosaically, I started with a rough idea of the amount of clay I would use to create each of the 3 sizes. These figure were calculated to give a satisfying increase in scale within the bowl group - and to coordinate with the size/price of the rest of the collection.
Then the fun really began! Throwing clay is a conversation between the relative hardness/softness of the clay and how it behaves, the movements of the body - and the laws of physics, partcularly gravity and time. It is not enough to design a form on paper and presume the job is done. It is also necessary to work out, and become fluent in the series of movements needed to make the form real, pushing the clay to achieve the maximum size/thinness but avoiding the point of collapse. for the big bowls the challenge is to push the clay out to give a satisfying degree of openness without allowing gravity to take over, and to allow for the cornering at every stage of the making process so that it can be finished correctly at the end.
When each bowl starts with a 2.5kg lump of clay that must be wrestled into shape its a pretty good workout!
These photos show the sequence of clarifying a form and working out how to make it, including the initial failures that usefully teach you where the point of collapse is but are not the sort of pots you'd normally want to show in public!
I do draw initial designs, but i find that the making process is where the really detailed design work happens. These bowls were the scene of one such in-process-development... Previously i have always preferred a bowl with a foot, but whilst turning one i got distracted and chopped into the footring. Rather that waste the bowl i continued turning to tidy it up, and ended up with a new base profile that i really like.
As you can see from the photos, I went through this whole sequence twice for the large sized bowls, changing the articulation of the rim to make a form I was happier with, as well as twice for the medium ones and once so far for the small ones, but i can tell there will be more iterations to come before the design is fully resolved.
Its a lot of work for a bowl to put your salad in, but it's surprisingly rewarding when it finally works and i hope you will enjoy the finished products of my labours...