Make a slab teapot

Slab teapot


1. Gather tools and materials. You’ll need clay; a fettling knife; a rolling pin or a slab roller; a dry sponge; a rubber or metal rib; a scoring tool; chopsticks; as well as paintbrushes, stamps, and other decorating tools. To form the slab teapot, you’ll need a bisqued or plaster dome-shaped hump mold, and a container to put the mold on. Lastly, it is helpful to have a piece of cardboard to support the bottom of the teapot on to make moving it around easier.

2. Roll out a slab. Make the slab big enough for the body, bottom, handle, and spout of your teapot, depending on the size of mold. Since the teapot will be built using soft slabs, the slab should be approximately 1/4 inch thick. Save the leftover clay for a knob, supports for propping up the handle and spout if needed, and decorations.

3. Create the body. Cut out a section of the slab roughly large enough to cover your mold. Drape the slab over the elevated mold (figure 1). To make the flat sheet fit to the mold, either tuck and fold the excess clay or cut darts from the edges and reattach the edges, adding a thin coil to reinforce and patch up the join. Cut excess off the bottom using the rim of the mold as a guide (figure 2). When pressing the clay against the mold to make it conform to the shape, do not push the clay down with your fingers; use a dry sponge, a rib, or the palm of your hand to pat gently instead. This helps keep the slab thickness even.

4. Make the spout. With brush handle or chopstick, roll up a thinner sheet of clay into a tube. Rock the spout gently on a flat surface to make it look even and round. Make a few spouts to choose from.

5. Attach the knob, cut out lid. The knob can be any style you choose (figure 3). Use a fettling knife to make the lid cut and make the cut on an angle so that the lid has support and sits on the body. Cutting the lid on an angle like this removes the need for a gallery to be added to the body. The lid can be an organic shape to indicate the direction, or you can put little matching marks on the lid and body to line it up. After removing the lid, drape a little strip or two of newspaper on the body to prevent the lid sticking to the body (see image 5).

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