DIY: Make A Bowl

Scott Jarrett, a local artist with a particular affinity for clay, recently sat down with the Jackson Free Press to demonstrate the art of creating a bowl. While "throwing" and forming, he shared many tricks of the trade, all the while demonstrating the skill of a master potter. Finally, desiring to give the public an easy way to make bowls of their own, Scott condensed all of his bowl-making knowledge into four simple steps. By following this outline, even an average Joe can have a piece prepared for the upcoming bowl season (but get a wheel, first!).

1. Know Your Bowl
"The first thing I do is predetermine the bowl's purpose—what it's going to be like, what it's going to look like. That affects how I'm going to fire it and what kind of clay I'm going to throw. Then I decide how big I want it and how much clay I want to use at the start."

2. Be Equipment-Friendly
"I usually throw from the wheel; so first, I center the clay and determine how big the bottom is going to be. Because I'm making a bowl now, I'll pull the clay diagonally outward, and I'll get my walls the width and shape that I want, then I can start forming the bowl. Because I'm throwing a bowl, the wheel pulls the clay outward; so I don't want to throw it too fast, or it would spin out of control. That would suck."

3. Foot Carving
"Once the bowl is leather hard—or almost dry—take it and turn it over and carve a foot out of the bottom. This is for it to stand on and other, decorative purposes."

4. Finish It!
"Decide if you're going to use the bowl for functional purposes or just display—all these things kind of determine how you're going to fire it. If you're creating a bowl to eat out of or serve from, you'll probably want to use a type of glaze. With that kind of piece, you'll want to use glaze that's lead-free. With this piece, I'm going to do a pit-fire or barrel-fire and load it with saw dust or wood, which will give it smoke effects, different carbonization, different color flashes—that sort of thing."

Scott Jarrett's work will be on display at The Journey House, 3218 N. State St., throughout December.


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