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big spouted pitchers/large multi-piece pots

updated tue 10 dec 02


vince pitelka on mon 9 dec 02

> I would like to make pitchers with big spouts on them and a nice footed
> bottom. The spout I have in mind would be something like Steve Hill. Does
> anyone know if he pulls that spout or adds it on to the form? Then if one
has a
> large spout how does one trim the bottom? Do you have to make a special
> chuck! That doesn't appeal to me I don't really use any chucks. I guess if
I have
> to I have to. But I do want to trim the bottom. What methods do others

Kat -
I do not know how Steven Hill does it, but you have two options if you want
a tall extended spout. You can throw the pitcher with a thick rim, and pull
the spout upwards from that rim (be careful not to pull it too thin), or you
can add a spout. A good way to do that is to throw a small flared bowl,
with a rim that matches the rim on your pitcher. Cut a section from the rim
and wall of the bowl to fabricate the extended spout for the pitcher, and
then "pull" the point of the pour spout to get the desired profile for
clean, drip-free pouring.

I know there are potters who wheel-trim every shape, but I cannot see the
point of wheel-trimming most tall pitcher, vase, and covered jar forms.
Certainly there are some shapes that beg for trimming, but most of these
forms work equally well, both aesthetically and functionally, without a
trimmed foot. If you give the bottom of the fired pot a once-over with an
abrasive flap wheel, you will have a silky smooth bottom in no way inferior
to a trimmed foot.

But, if you are intent on trimming the foot, then yes, you will need a
custom chuck with a cutout area to accommodate the pitcher spout.

And regarding large forms made from multiple thrown sections, the primary
challenge is to join the sections while the two contact surfaces are equal
moisture content, and ideally while they are still plastic enough to blend
the joint. The best way I know of requires a wheel with bat pins, and
matching bats. Throw the bottom section on a bat, and create a shallow
V-groove at the rim. Do not run a cutoff wire under the form. Lift this
section off the wheel and set it aside.

Next, throw the second section upside-down on the wheel (the part stuck to
the bat will eventually be the top of the vessel). Finish the rim to the
same diameter as the top of the first section, and shape it so that it comes
to a slight point exactly opposite the shape of the V-groove in the rim of
the first section. Do not cut this section off the bat. Remove it from the
wheel and set it aside.

The assumption is that the base of this piece (which will be the top of the
vessel) will be a little thicker than the upper portion (which will match up
with the first section). Wrap the lower part of the second section with
plastic, and let the upper part of the second section and the entire first
section stiffen up a bit.

Place the first section back on the wheel. Score the contact surfaces on
both sections, and apply slurry generously to the V-groove on the first
section. Pick up the second, holding it by the bat, invert it, and settle
the rim firmly into the V-groove. Cut the bat off the top of the vessel.
With a stiff rounded rib, work the joint upwards with diagonal strokes, both
on the inside and the outside. Once it is well joined, start the wheel and
continue to work it with your hands or with ribs to blend the two sections.

Since the lower part of the second section was wrapped in plastic, it should
be very plastic. Moisten just this part, inside and out, and throw it to
create whatever neck and rim you wish. A good way to do this is to use
slurry rather than water, because you do not want it to run down over the
stiffened sections.

If you still want a larger pot, then throw the rim to the profile you need,
and once again create a V-groove in the rim, remove from wheel, and make
another section. You can make as many sections as you wish. Hell, you can
make Grecian columns for your front porch. If you have a tall kiln.
Best wishes -
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Appalachian Center for Crafts
Tennessee Technological University
1560 Craft Center Drive, Smithville TN 37166
Home -
Work -
615/597-6801 ext. 111, fax 615/597-6803