Monday, December 22, 2014

Lidded Jars, Thrown With The Lid Attached

A few months ago, a student of mine was telling me about a video she had watched in which the potter threw a lidded piece with the lid attached. In class I have often shown students how to throw "knob'n alls" that are thrown in one piece and later the lid is cut off. I first heard of these pieces on a Robin Hopper video "Form and Function."

closed top cylinders (for sculpture, not lidded containers)

I find 'knob'n alls" easy to throw, if not exactly easy to spell.  They are simply cylinders that close at the top. Later the top half of the piece is cut off, usually at an angle. The lid fits tightly because it was originally part of the piece itself. 

a knob'n all

The lid can be made to fit very tightly by keying the cut. Instead of cutting off the lid evenly all the way around, I cut a notch or notches which then help keep the lid in place and assure that the lid is always put on in the correct orientation.

new knob'n alls drying (before cutting)
When my student told me about her new method for throwing a knob'n all, I didn't really understand her. It wasn't until the quarter was almost over, and I was laying in bed thinking about throwing projects, that I really thought about what she had said. I realized what she meant and what she'd done and I determined to try it.

lid after trimming (I didn't have a chuck, so I used a glass jar)

Last week I threw some of the new knob'n alls. The piece is thrown basically the same as normal, a cylinder with a closed top, but before finishing, I pushed the wall in, just under where I wanted the lid, to create an indent. It took me a few tries to find the right shape of tool to create the indent. The indent will eventually become the lip that comes down from the lid and inserts into the base of the container, keeping the lid securely in place.

lidded container after trimming

Later, once the piece has dried a bit, the bottom edge of the indent is cut and the excess trimmed away. The lid now slides easily down into the base, creating a secure lid. I tried this method a few times and all of them worked to different extents. I learned a bit more about how thick the wall needs to be where the indent is and how deep the indent itself needs to be. I'm looking forward to sharing this with my students next quarter.

trimming base on the lidded container

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