My platters begin on the potter's wheel with a 25 pound ball of clay. I still use an old fashioned kick wheel because I like the feeling of connection it gives me with the clay. The platters must dry out for around five days and then I trim off most of the excess clay from the bottom. A finished plate weighs from 6 to 8 pounds. It will take another week for the plate to become dry enough to paint. At this point I use an opaque projector to cast the design on to the curved surface. Then I trace the outlines in pencil and begin the slow work of painting the pattern in with colored clay slips. I will spend between 10 and 20 hours on this phase alone. For my vases, I first carve a single repeat unit into a piece of clay, and then cast it in plaster. Once it dries I can stamp the pattern on to slabs of clay, which I then assemble into a vase. While the vase is in the "leather hard" state I carve over the lines using dental tools to clean up all the edges and make the pattern line up. When the vase is completely dry I paint the slips on. The finished platters or vases are fired once to cone 04 and then I apply either a transparent colored glaze or a clear gloss glaze and fire a second time. Pieces with gold detailing require a third firing on top of that. My studio is open by appointment to anyone who is curious about my process. I also participate in the Open Studios program in Boulder, which occurs every October.
The graphics below demonstrate how I design a pattern from start to finish.