How to Make a Primitive Platter

Meg Spielman Peldo makes a ceramic platter, breaks it, then reassembles it to create this work of art.

hclvr341_2_Primitive_Fired_Platter

Materials and Tools:

8 to 9 lbs. of mid- to high-fire white stoneware
50 percent copper carbonate
50 percent kosher salt mixture
container of water
ceramic stains
copper wire
copper mesh
ceramic sealer
stones
beach glass
electric kiln
pit kiln
sawdust
kindling and wood
newspapers
clay-cutting wire
potter's wheel
removable bat
rib tool
needle tool
wood-shaping tool
paintbrush
safety glasses
soap and water
two-part epoxy glue
wire cutters
sandpaper

Steps:

1. Cut a piece of clay from the clay block. Wedge the clay to remove air bubbles.

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2. Center the clay on a removable bat. Place the bat on a potter's wheel.

3. Open the clay and form it into a platter. Form the foot with clay tools.

4. Smooth the clay with a rib tool. Remove the bat from the potter's wheel.

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5. Place the clay platter on a shelf and let it dry to the leather hard stage.

6. Put the platter back on the potter's wheel and trim the bottom with a wood shaping tool.

7. Tear into the rim in several places by pulling the clay apart with your hands.

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8. Punch holes into the clay near the torn edges with a needle tool. These will be used for inserting wire to hold stones and other embellishments later.

9. Let the clay dry to the bone dry stage for about a week.

10. Bisque-fire the piece in an electric kiln to cone 06. Let cool.

11. Remove the platter from the kiln. Break it into pieces by dropping it on the floor.

12. Cover some pieces with ceramic stain washes.

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13. Cover the bottom of a wood fire pit kiln with sawdust and sprinkle with copper/salt mixture.

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14. Place the broken pottery pieces in the kiln, adding copper/salt, copper mesh and copper wire shapes as you layer the pieces.

15. Add kindling and wood, light the fire and continue feeding the fire for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Let cool overnight.

16. Wash the pieces and sand the sharp edges.

17. Mix two-part epoxy according to the manufacturer's directions. Apply the epoxy to the edges of the platter pieces and reassembles the fired platter.

18. Seal the primitive platter with ceramic or stone sealer.

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19. Add stones and beach glass or found objects by wiring them to the platter through the previously punched holes. Twist the wires in the back of the platter to secure.

20. Wire the back and hang the primitive platter.

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