AMACO – Tech Sheet #21 – Plates Everybody can Make
by Tracy Gamble
Handbuilt Plates using Textured Slab Molds and Plate Drape Molds
Amaco® low or high fire clay body of your choice; used here was Amaco® 67-M low fire Indian Red Clay (Item 45131A)
Appropriate Amaco® glaze of your choice.
Amaco® Textured Slab Mold of your choice (used here was TM-2, item no. 32219V)
Amaco® 10 3/4″ Salad Plate Drape Mold, Item No. 32210N (used here) or 13″ Dinner Plate Drape Mold Item No. 32217P
Amaco® Fettling Knife (Item No. 11192H) or plastic picnic knife
Amaco® Potter’s Needle Tool (Item No. 11016M)
Amaco® Wire Clay Cutter (Item No. 11017N)
Hardwood Modeling Tool No. 8 (Item No. 11110D)
Giffin Grip (Item No. 33052G)
Brent® SR-20 Slab Roller (Item No. 22621B) or wood slats and rolling pin
Brent Model CXC Potter’s Wheel (Item No. 22727G)
Small Sand Bag (see instruction insert to make your own)
Texture tools (clay stamps, wooden stamps, rubber stamps, plaster stamps, found objects, etc.)
Vinegar or Slip
Sure Form Clay Tool
Make the plate shape
1. Cut newspaper for a pattern slightly smaller than the Plate Drape Mold.
2. Roll Slab to 3/8″ to 1/2″ thickness and large enough for at least one plate per slab.
3. Place newspaper pattern on slab and cut out plate using a fettling knife (a plastic picnic knife works well for elementary age artists). Save leftover clay for feet (balls of clay for feet by hand) or foot (coil of clay for foot by wheel).
4. Press plate shape onto Textured Slab Mold with small sand bag using a firm rolling motion from center to edges, all the way around.
5. Roll the plate shape with the flat roller of a Pony Roller to smooth and press further into Textured Slab Mold.
6. Bevel edges of plate shape with the curved roller of the Pony Roller.
7. Roll clay texture worm or other texture tools (wooden stamps, rubber stamps, plaster stamps, found objects, etc.) onto back of plate shape.
8. Lift plate from Textured Slab Mold and place, centered, on the Plate Drape Mold. Gently press plate shape to the curve of the Plate Drape Mold.
Make the Feet or Foot of the Plate
Feet by Hand
9. Roll four 1″ balls of clay, all the same size.
10. Place the balls of clay evenly on the plate shape on the Plate Drape Mold and mark where they go. Place the feet approximately two thirds to three fourths of the way from center to rim of plate shape. The plate, when right side up, must rest on the feet and not the underside of the plate shape.
Tip: to avoid ‘tippy’ plate place feet closer to the rim of the plate than the center.
11. Score both the feet and where the feet go on the plate and attach feet to plate shape with slip or Apple Cider vinegar.
12. Press thumb into center of each ball of clay foot to make thumb print feet.
13. Level feet using wooden bat placed evenly (level to table) on feet and gently pound twice with fist in center of the bat and then remove bat.
Foot by Wheel
14. Roll 1/2″ coil of clay from leftover slab clay or use 1/2″ round die in an extruder to get coil.
15. Place Plate Drape Mold with centered plate shape into Giffin Grip on Potter’s Wheel and score plate shape and coil.
16. Attach coil to plate shape with slip or Apple Cider vinegar and cut off excess coil with needle tool using a diagonal cut, score and glue attach ends.
17. With wheel turning, press coil gently to plate shape for secure attachment.
18. With wheel turning, seal each side of coil to plate using the curved end of the Hardwood Modeling Tool. This procedure is slow and takes many revolutions on each side to seal coil to the plate shape.
19. With wheel turning, trim coil to make level foot using a Trimming tool.
20. Make sure the foot is tall enough for the plate, when right side up, to rest completely on the foot and not on the plate shape. This can be easily checked by placing a pencil on the foot so the pencil sits across the area inside of the foot. There needs to be space under the pencil all the way from one side of the foot to the other.
21. When plate is firm enough to handle, hold plate, right side up, to curve and smooth edges with a Sure Form tool.
22. Smooth shaped edges with a chamois. A wet chamois with most of the water squeezed out works best.
23. Sign bottom of the plate with name using sharp pencil.
24. When plate is dry, bisque fire to appropriate temperature for the Amaco® clay used then glaze and fire to appropriate temperature for the Amaco® glaze used.
Small Sand Bag:
Make your own Small Sand Bag
1. Cloth square 18”x18” (handkerchief, cotton material or pre-cut quilt squares).
2. Fill with 2 pounds of sand.
3. Tie off with string leaving enough room in the bag for sand to move around a bit.
For Amaco® 67-M Indian Red Clay used here, bisque plate to Cone 03 then glaze with any Amaco® Cone 05 glaze.
Tracy Gamble is a studio potter in Plainfield, Indiana.
This technique sheet is one in a series of art plans using American Art Clay Co., Inc. products. If you have an idea for a lesson plan using Amaco products that you would like to share with other art educators, contact Jeffrey Sandoe, Key Accounts Manager; Director, AMACO/Brent Contemporary Clay Gallery at American Art Clay Co., Inc.