Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Creamers: Exploring Form & Negative Space

A "darted" creamer starts as a mug. These are large enough for 12 oz. of liquid.
Step 1: Cylinder made on the wheel.
If I kept this as a mug, it would look like this:
This one will go to the winner of the raffle at my last show.
But today I am making creamers, not mugs.
I make a pouring lip while it is still quite damp.
Step 2: A simple pouring lip.

I lighten and finish the bottom edge by smoothing off a little extra clay from around it with my thumb. Then I cut a leaf-shaped dart out of the side.
Step 3: The center of the dart is directly opposite the pouring lip. The angle of the bevel is different for the 2 cut sides of the dart. One side is angled inward, one side angled outward. They merge better this way.
 Slowly and carefully, I bring the cut sides of the dart together. The clay has to be fairly soft, or it will begin to crack above and below the join.
Step 4: A raised seam where the dart is joined. This one was a bit firm and did in fact begin to crack above the join, so I cut it, slipped and scored it, and blended the join all the way up to the rim.
I leave the raised seam made by the join, although I neaten it up some more as I go along.

It looks like this in profile. I'm going to play with this blank thing:
There is a scooped-out area across from the spout now.

The rim could use defining and embellishing, so I make a cut on each of its sides. Where I left the rim uncut across from the spout, I'm left now with an interesting rise, which I am not sure is good there and should possibly be cut off. But let's play with that...
(Note: The spout is now facing right in the photo:)
Step 5: Just cut- two long leaf shapes, one from each side of the rim.
The rim gets dampened, and smoothed gently between thumb and forefinger.
It's important to remove sharp angles on the edges of functional pots. I also smooth a slight flare into the rim at the same time.
Now it's time to figure out the handle design. There's this:
Handle starts inside rim and goes to bottom of darted part. Attitude is a bit tentative.
Or this:
This handle, attached to the outside below the dorsal fin thing, has better negative space inside the curve, but I think I'll decorate that odd fin  Otherwise it has no purpose. Maybe a spot of color...
Underglaze color applied at a drier stage. But I am not inspired.
These not entirely successful forms have me thinking harder about that darted indentation. It should be framed by a handle that's better integrated into the form of the creamer and also makes interesting negative space.
I cut down the fin-like edge above the handle for a good swooping line. My favorite so far. Will do this rim curve on the next batch I make, maybe even more exaggerated.

This just underscores that the fin above the handle really is too self-important. In comparison to the creamer in the photo above this, I am not liking how the fin-shoulder widens the rim profile.
Difference here- I didn't dart this one, I indented the side of the creamer with a big dimple instead of cutting out the leaf shape. More like my un-darted old creamers, but with a forward thrust to the profile that's a bit livelier than of old. Fin still has to go...
While these dry, I will make some hand-pleasers, each one a little critter from one small lump of clay. Want to make a couple of dozen. More on that next time. Stay tuned!


  1. Love seeing the creative process laid out.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Noam! Instead of a vertical line, the next batch will taper a bit inward as it rises from foot to rim. Will start cutting and darting at a softer stage, & make a stronger shape at the pouring lip. This is an evolving form. Will do a short photo post in a few weeks of next efforts, plus will show these creamers after the glaze fire.

  3. Very cool to see how much thought and work goes into these. Is there a "buy it here" link?

  4. I will come back and post a link after they're glaze fired! Thanks.