There is so much to think about when creating what appears to be a simple vessel. I wanted to make a versatile bowl, ideal for salads and vegetables and I'm discovering with clay the more simple the design, the harder it can be to execute!
When throwing it's important to compress the base – always. For smaller pieces the tips of your fingers work well. If you have a large surface area to cover, a firm kidney tool is best. It can be easy to form a gutter where the base meets the wall, to avoid doing this I have a flat stick I place in the bottom of the bowl as a guide.
Making the walls and base of the vessel the same thickness ensures they dry evenly and the wall doesn’t pull away from the base causing a crack around the inside edge.
Compressing the lip of the bowl is the final step before removing the vessel from the wheel. A small square of suede does the trick, ensuring the rim is even, smooth and rounded as desired.
Forming a right angle edge on a ceramic vessel can be more tricky than it looks. The top of the cylinder can pull in more when drying so you actually need to throw the lip with a slight flair to accommodate for this shrinkage.
This bowl is great for all types of salads, chips, fruit – anything really. I like to use desiree potatoes as the red skin looks particularly enticing against the soft white glaze. Diced cornichons are my favourite addition for a bit of zing.
8 desiree potatoes
3 free range eggs
1 celery stalk
¼ cup cornichons
¼ cup whole egg mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Boil potatoes until they can be pieced with a skewer. Add the eggs about 5 minutes before the potatoes are done. Drain and set to cool. Dice celery and cornichons. Cut potatoes into large pieces and roughly chop eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir gently. Finish with a generous handful of chopped chives and season to taste.