How to make a bowl…

If you already read this post, I added on the trimming part. You could skip down to that at step 22.

How to make a bowl in 34 easy steps…

1. Weigh out and wedge the clay. If your wrists are over the age of 50, put it into two balls.


2. Adjust your iPod. Instead of war in Pakistan, listen to Terry Gross interview Andre Agassi. (the mullet was a hairpiece)

ipod 1

3. Choose some of your favorite tools.


4. Stop. Admire Stephanie’s new handle style on her cup.


5. Stop. Answer Roy’s question about his bowls.


6. Center the balls of clay.


7. Say “AH!”


8. Pull up the wall


9. Establish a bottom and side wall.


10. Put a pointy part where the twain shall meet. (this will be very important later)


11. Pull up the wall higher and refine the rim.


12. Push from the inside to “belly out” the bowl a bit.


13. Make a mark on the inside. Whee! (make a note to fix that nick you made when you dropped the rib on the rim)


14. Take a moment to try and remember which rib you like to use to make the alteration. (when in doubt…big is better)


15. While you’re up, step outside to see if it is still raining.


16. That stretch was good timing because as much as you enjoyed Agassi’s interview, adjust your iPod so you don’t have to listen to it again.
ipod 2

17. Start the alteration.


18. Remember the “pointy place” you made? The alteration pulls it up into a lovely curve.



The alteration also squares off the bowl.

19. Push out areas from the inside to create impeccably placed bulges.


20. Alter the rim so that it is not just a square.


21. Go home and make macaroni and cheese with shrimp and broccoli. ‘Cause after all…it is a rainy day.


My thanks to Calder Kamin, my studio mate who took several of the photographs and to my stunt double, Mickey, who flew in from Australia for the dangerous parts.

I am now adding on the trimming part after the bowl sits overnight and becomes leather hard.

22. Stick a needle tool into the bowl to see how thick (or thin) the bottom is. You know anyway…after all, you are a professional. But better safe than sorry.

23. Lay a sponge covered bat on the bowl.

24. Then flip it! The bowl is upside down and ready to put onto the wheelhead.

25. Spin the wheel and make a needle line to see if the bowl is in the center. Oops, looks like it needs to move toward 11 o’clock.

26. Move it over a bit then erase the line and mark it again.

27. Yep, that’s better.

28. Trim out a foot ring. Do not, under any circumstance use a Bison tool! (they are the best ever and you will not be happy with any other tool again)

29. Cover up your bowl with plastic and go have a…

30. SNACK! Bowie’s wife, Shannon, made these with Eagle Brand. They have an Eagle Brand COOKBOOK! But she got this recipe RIGHT OFF THE CAN!
(snacks excite me)

31. Oh! I was so excited about the SNACK! that I forgot to take a picture of step 31 which is…flip the bowl back over and brush on a dark brown slip. So… brush on a porcelain slip over that and we’ll just call it one step.

32. I was so upset about having to combine the previous two steps that I had to go eat another SNACK! THE RECIPE WAS ON THE CAN!

33. When the slip loses its sheen, start carving on the texture. You could draw puppies instead of writing words…one of the two. Puppies or words, you choose.

34. Put the big bowl in your drying cabinet with the little bowls you already finished and go home and go to bed! It’s almost midnight!


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