I’ve made my first star light slabs. Sometimes even when you don’t get commissions they spark off interesting new thoughts!
Slabs are much weaker than thrown pots – the compression during throwing aligns the little clay platelets – so I broke my this, my first slab by putting it down too abruptly.
Writing on a larger scale needs different tools and techniques too, as I found with recent writing on paper. The best tool so far for slab-writing is a bamboo quill which enforces an italic hand.
I loaded the words on these with colour, but I think they need more: as usual the throw-away extra test came out better.
Firing slabs is harder too, they have more internal stresses that a thrown pot. I’ve hollowed the bottom of this one, but it’s still cracked on cooling – a ‘dunt’. You can tell it’s on cooling as the edges of the crack are still sharp, not melted at all.
Sometimes these cracks happen as the clay tries to shrink (they shrink a lot) and get caught on the shelf, so next time I’ll fire the slab on a ‘setter’ of porcelain which will shrink at the same rate – hope it works!