The one we’ve been looking forward to – The Food Project. Where we make something original to serve food from at the end of term buffet. All pieces were to be glazed in a white stoneware glaze.
I decided on a dish for dips and crudites, based on the octahedron. Research revealed Cody Hoyt and Keith Varney’s use of the octahedron in their ceramics.
Cody Hoyt (top) and Keith Varney (bottom)
I designed the dish combining 5 octahedrons arranged around a central axis. How to make them? After a couple of failed attempts, I made a clay tetrahedron, then made two plaster moulds from it. I cast 10 tetrahedral shapes in clay – quite tricky as the moulds are relatively deep for press moulding – then constructed each octahedron from 2 tetrahedrons. I had read that vinegar makes a good slip for joining clay (a flocculant) so I used a vinegar slip to construct the serving dish.
Bisque fired dish, top and underside
It was a time consuming process, and biscuit firing was looming. If I dried it too quickly it would crack, so left it to dry slowly and made another piece for the buffet.
This started life as an exercise in coiling. No influences or research, just free-form. My aunt gave me some battery operated lights, so I thought ‘Oooo’, I know what I’ll do with those. The original idea was to have grapes in the top depression, cheese biscuits on the 3 shelves and cheese on a separate board.
Critique and Buffet
Sadly the glaze was faulty. Dave was mortified. It had underfired and remained powdery, so the items couldn’t be used to serve food. It didn’t help the critique, either. My fruit holder reminded Dave of Gordon Baldwin, whom I hadn’t heard of at the time – a fact that pleased Cheryl. Cheeky! Gordon is one of Sue’s favourites, so she told me all about him and Katie Googled him for me.
We later tried firing the pots at a higher temperature, which worked on Micaela’s dish. However, her glaze was thinner than mine. The second firing merely crazed the glaze and it remained slightly powdery.
It didn’t detract from the buffet though: