Alex and Lisa LaPella are potters who love what they do. Alex specializes in the creation of ceramic hand drums. Lisa loves throwing functional wares, believing that beauty and art should be integrated into the everyday. We have a home studio in Unicoi, TN and an online store at LaPella Pottery on Etsy.
We've been creating some dishes with the wabi-sabi philosophy in mind. While not letting go of our ideals of good craftsmanship, we have tried to let the beauty of imperfection remain in this line of work.
Wabi-sabi is often defined as "flawed beauty" or "wisdom in natural simplicity".
Last month, we saw this article in Ceramic Arts Daily about making pottery using dropped slabs. We had done this sort of thing on a smaller scale (with shorter drops), but we wanted to try it as an alternative to pressing slabs into slump molds.
First, we created a variety of wooden frames.
This set creates a large platter, a dinner plate, and a salad plate.
We placed a frame on a ware board. Ours are smooth plywood covered in a fine canvas that would normally be used for stretching your own painting canvases.
We lay the slab into the frame, gently lifting the edges so it begins to slump into the frame.
We hold the board with frame and slab about chest height, take a big breath.....
...and let go!
When it lands, the clay slumps into the frame. If a section doesn't quite slump, we'll lightly sponge it to press it into the frame or we will drop the slab again. Dropping again can warp the sides a bit because the slump farther. It is really cool that the edges usually trim themselves in the process!
This one was wiped with a sponge to get it completely in contact with the frame.
This is a finished plate!
This method is loads of fun and we laugh a lot while we make these!
The plates are firing very flat and stacking very nicely. We are enjoying coming up with fun designs for the glazing.