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Platters: Four Approaches to Making and Decorating Plates

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Learn How to Make Perfect Plates!
It is a common misconception to think that plates are easy forms to make because the challenge of achieving height isn’t there. But plates can be tricky. Issues of warping and cracking can be common if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, in this Ceramic Arts Daily Presents Compilation, we’ve gathered four talented artists to demonstrate how they approach plates. Ben Carter makes a handbuilt oval platter; Adam Field throws a plate with a carved altered rim; Forrest Lesch-Middelton throws a large platter with screen-printed decoration and a lobed rim; and Meredith Host throws a porcelain plate perfect for colorful decoration. Not only do these artists share insights into how to get plates structurally correct, they also share great decorating techniques that will help you complete the process.

Throwing and Decorating a Platter with Adam Field

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Plates require more clay that a lot of other forms and Adam Field starts off with great tips on how to set the clay up right from the beginning to make your job easier. Throughout the demo, Adam discusses structural considerations that he takes to make his plates function as beautifully as they look. In addition he shares some nifty tips on some improvised tools he uses from items that most of us would just throw away. Rather than decorating the center part of his plate, Adam Field chooses to decorate the rim with his carving and shares the secrets to setting up his intricate repeating patterns.

Throwing and Decorating a Platter with Meredith Host

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Meredith Host’s wheel-thrown plates begin as large clay discs with lots of supporting clay, which allows her to get excellent compression to avoid cracks. The excess clay is lathed away at just the right time in the trimming process. She then explains and demonstrates how the continuous curve on the top surface of the plate not only makes a great canvas for decoration, but also helps in the structural support.

Handbuilding and Decorating a Platter with Ben Carter

If you’d like to make a large platter that isn’t round, using a slab and a slump mold can be just the ticket. Ben Carter makes this mold with insulating foam board, and creates a lovely undulating rim with sewn fabric pouches. Next Ben shares how he decorates the platter with slip, underglaze, and sgraffito, discussing subtle details like placement of motifs to move the eye around the composition to contrasting shiny surfaces with matt. Watching these techniques it is easy to imagine different ways to personalize them – the sky’s the limit!

Throwing and Decorating a Platter with Forrest Lesch-Middelton

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Forrest Middelton makes the largest wheel-thrown plate on the compilation, beginning with 12.5 pounds of clay, and gives great advice on how to center this much clay without wrecking your wrists. Then he shares how he uses a process similar to how he throws cylinders to make a plate with a wide rim that can be darted and altered. He finishes it all off with his signature screen printed image transfer.

Raku Firing – Expanding the Potential of the Raku Kiln

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NEW RELEASE!! Just $39.95!

In this installment of the Ceramic Arts Daily Presents video series, Marcia Selsor draws from her extensive experience with raku firing to show a variety of techniques that can easily be done in any raku kiln. She starts out with the basics of raku, covering equipment, safety, and suitable clays and glazes for the process. From there, she moves on to preparing pots for firing with a variety of decorative techniques. Finally, it’s time to play with fire! Marcia demonstrates four exciting post-firing techniques for the raku kiln: basic raku, horsehair and feather raku, saggar firing, and obvara. If you’ve been wanting to experiment with raku and other post-firing techniques, this video will get you off to a great start!