after making a lot of hump-mould dishes I felt I should try to make the shapes more individual; also I need some different shapes for the Salthouse Church installation.

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this is the beginning of the third bowl in the series, a thick slab of clay formed over an old hump mould, seen in the background, which has a rounded base. after allowing it to stiffen somewhat, I took it off the mould and worked it in my lap with a rounded flint. you can see this in the background as well.

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the process has to allow the work to stiffen at intervals so that the lower part of the bowl will support itself while the clay is extended upwards and outwards, and I use wet cotton scrim to keep the working edge damp; this takes a couple of days. it is a mixture of pinching, and paddle and anvil techniques; when tapping away with the stone ball, mostly from inside the form, a hand or a paddle keeps the pot from distorting too much.

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pushing at the clay from the inside produces a cracked surface on the outside, which I like. I am not after a perfectly smooth, perfectly round and symetrical pot at all.

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today (the third day) the base was tough enough to set in a cushion of clay on a banding wheel. this is easier to work with when the pot gets bigger than on one’s lap. some of the dents and bumps can be worked on at this stage.

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this clay is a mixture of St Thomas reduction and terracotta crank with some grog added.

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after a lot of patting and pulling and scraping the pot begins to take shape, and then has another rest before the final effort.

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at this point decisions have to be made about how much texture should be left and how bumpy the final edge should be. I used a metal kidney to smooth and scrape quite a lot of the marks made by the stone away, and chop some of the edge into a more even shape before finally working the kidney on the inside against my big wooden paddle on the outside.

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before this was done however, I spent some time working on the profile of the bowl with the stone and the paddle.

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it is a fine balance between leaving the thing too lumpy and making it overworked. I would really have liked the edge to crack, but to get that I should have let it rest without the damp scrim.