A production potter has mastered the art of recreating the same piece consistently on a large scale, often using a potter’s wheel. One of the reasons I create a pattern for a finished pot I like is so I can make it again (and again) using clay hand-building techniques. As much as I value the routine and comfort of making a familiar shape over and over in the studio, I also enjoy a good creative challenge.
I really like the process of figuring out how to make something I’ve never created before. It usually starts with an idea and a picture in my head. I know ahead of time what I want the finished piece to look like. Sometimes I’ll sketch it out (mostly so I don’t forget).
Trial and error is part of the process. I allow myself time to fail because this will happen. I assess the shapes that need to be pieced together to make a final whole. Lots of times, I just start cutting apart clay and shaping. As I close in on success, I take note of the shapes, tools, and process I used to achieve the final result. I make a pattern with cut-up manila folders.
Once I've created a pattern and a sample of the finished piece has made it successfully through all the stages of the kiln-firing process, I know I can recreate it when I want to. It's how I achieve quality control and the ability to produce multiples of the same shape over and over again.
When a new shape I make is one my customers like to purchase, it then becomes 'something old.' And luckily for me, there always seems to be 'something new' to create waiting in the wings! Got an idea for me? Click here to tell me about it!