After giving my pitchers two days to settle and harden under plastic, they were ready to be trimmed! This weather has been hot and sticky, so my clay dries out more quickly. This is both good and bad! Good because I can move on to the next steps of trimming, but bad because if I am not careful, they can dry out too much too soon! As my throwing skills improved in college, my professor kept stressing the need to complete a pot to the fullest through trimming! A foot trimmed into a pot can make all the difference, like this pitcher here. It gives the piece a look of completion as is sits on a table or counter. A little bit of added detail instead of just a flat cut bottom.
Since the pitchers were the perfect hardness for trimming and attaching handles, I did both yesterday. After I finished trimming each one I wrapped the pitchers back up in plastic to hold them at their “leather-hardness”. While they were under plastic, I cut clay to pull my handles. Pulling handles is a tricky skill – which I am still improving! First, start out with a small rectangle of clay. Holding the top of the rectangle, I begin to pull the bottom two inches of clay through repeated strokes. It is very important to keep your hands dripping wet during this step otherwise your hands won’t be able to slide over the clay. You can actually tear the clay and ruin the handle (I have done this a lot). Once the handle gets to the desired length, I press my thumb into the long smooth handle and pull a few more times to create a nice groove. I like this look for aesthetic reasons, it gives the handle a bit of character and appeal rather than just having an obtrusive thing sticking off of your pot. I feel it makes it look like the handle belongs there! Also, it is more comfortable to hold since the groove cradles the thumb when held.
After I pulled all the handles for the pitchers I had to let the handles sit before I could attach them. They are so wet after they are made that they would be too flimsy to attach. If I did attach them, they would droop and tear off the pot. I loosely draped them in plastic and left them in the open garage for a few hours before I could come back to attach them to the pitcher. To do so I have to score the end of the handle and the pot (this means scratching or roughing up the clay). Then I brush on some slip (liquid clay) to act as a cement when attaching. I attach the top of the handle first and then loop the handle down (making a candy cane shape) and attach the other end near the base of the pitcher. Smoothing everything out, I let it all dry under loose plastic.