• kevin_stafford_kbcs_48_3

The thing that was going to keep me out of the studio was over before it started.

That first set of cups and bowls that I pressed a week ago was a write off. It was impossible to clean them up. Any scraping inside was immediately met with cracks on the exterior. Decided to recycle and move on. The Babu (grolleg) is still my favourite for wheel throwing though.

I pressed three full sets of nine from boxed HHP. The first set took one 10 KG bag of with just a small amount left over.

My skills are improving with each new set. The trick is to do a lot of pin tool pricking to gage depth. My ideal is to have the interior surfaces worked to the point where they do not need to be touched once the piece is taken from the mould.

My briefly reignited affair with the slab roller came to an end. That beloved piece of equipment has again settled back into its role as studio catch all. I am okay with that now that the cookies are made. I have those sweet memories to savour.

I try to wedge just the right amount of clay for the mould I want to press. Then toss it out on the mat to the right shape and thickness. Cutting a few darts helps to get the slab inside the mould. If done right, it unfolds nicely against the walls. Thinly stretched areas and overlaps have to be evened out. The surface is worked until it is as smooth and even as possible. Thinking ten full sets will be about right for this series.

An easy indicator of progress is to keep track of the amount of clay it takes to press each set. If my skills are improving, it will take less each time until an ideal amount is reached. My averaged estimate for the last set was 8 KG. The number to beat for the next set. Want to reach the point where its all second nature, where thin and even walls seem effortless but that will have to wait for later. It’s going to be a challenge to finish these three sets in time for the holidays as it is.