Saturday, June 15, 2013

Some work in progress

            I purchased my kickwheel used from a ceramics studio in Massachusetts, and it was a great deal. They didn't need it, since everyone there preferred the electric wheels, and I needed a wheel and preferred a kickwheel. So I took it apart and packed it in my car along with my other belongings when Mr. Riverdragon and I moved to Maine.
            The wheel is a Thomas Stuart, and it's a fine piece of equipment in my opinion. The flywheel is nice and heavy, making it a pain to move but a delight to use. The frame can be taken apart to fit the whole thing into a car or through a doorway. For the most part, this wheel will last forever. It didn't mind being ignored for several years before I purchased it - it's practically as good as new. The one thing that's been bugging me about it is the surface of the table part.
            The table was originally varnished to protect the wood from wet clay. This is a good idea! But over the years, enough wet things have been set upon the table to damage that surface. I found it annoying because the varnish was starting to flake off into my clay. That's just troublesome.
            So Mr. Riverdragon volunteered to fix it up for me this spring. He took off the table part, sanded off all the old varnish, and put on new varnish. That put my wheel out of commission for a couple of days. But now it's as good as new! It turns out that the wood underneath has a nice looking grain. While we just used clear varnish and didn't bother doing anything fancy to make it look special, it looks even better than I thought it would. And it works so much better!
            So I celebrated by throwing some bowls and getting Mr. Riverdragon to take pictures of me happily working on my good-as-new wheel. He focused on me rather than on the table, though. I'm probably more interesting.

            So there I am, throwing bowls off the hump. (That's what it's called when you put a big lump of clay on the wheel, but throw many small objects off the top of it rather than using individual tiny lumps, which are hard to center.) You can see these pictures were taken in the house rather than in the barn. We've been slowly moving my clay things back into the barn studio, and it just so happens that the wheel is one of the few things still in the house. But I can use it just fine there, so that's ok for now.
            This is my nice translucent porcelain, although these bowls are not going to be translucent. They will be black and red, and the light will not be able to pass through the glaze and slip I'm going to use. But they will be lovely and smooth!

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