Green Strength

No, it is not a new environmentalist party. It is a measure of how strong a clay body is before it’s fired – in particular in the bone dry state. And the reason this is relevant? Oh, a certain 7lb bowl that was 15.5″ yesterday, 14.5″ today.

Vancouver is not known for sunshine. But today was an incredible spring day. Plum blossoms everywhere, green grass, white mountains, clean air, and yellow, warm sunshine. And so, after flipping the bowl I made yesterday, I put it out! in the sun! to dry! so I can trim it.

I worked on finishing my six individual teapot, like this one:


that I threw  yesterday, occasionally checking on the bowl. After I finished four of them, it was leather hard. It usually takes them three days in the studio, so I was very happy. I trimmed and trimmed and it got thinner and thinner, but I didn’t punch a hole, or dent it too much, or any of the other possible trimming mishaps. In the end I was happy with the shape and as I lifted the batt I could feel it’s feather light. So I put it outside to dry more, exposing just the trimmed area, and went back to working on the teapots.

And when I finished them and went back out to check on the bowl, it was gone.

I’ve had stuff stolen from me before, usually involving bikes. I still remember staring at my bike in disbelief as I came out of the library to find my bike seat gone. But. A bowl. A beautiful, feather light, 14.5″ bowl (I had already run the shrinkage numbers in my head and was prepared for it to be 12.5 – 13″ when it’s fired. Well, don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched). A beautiful, feather light, 14.5″, UNFIRED bowl.

Porcelain is not known for its green strength. When it’s fired, it’s the strongest of clays. but green? look at it wrong and it will break.

So after the initial shock, I started laughing at the fool who stole my bowl-to-be. 7bs of clay, 20-30 minutes to throw and about the same time to trim. Some hopes, dreams about fired size and glazes. Thinking about it crumbling as he or she tries to use it.

I’ll make a better one next week.


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