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One humble member of my mother’s collection of her son’s ceramic works is a joining of two clay techniques, Pinch-Pottery and Wheel-Throwing. A Pinch Pot is often the first vessel a fledgling potter will make. Take a racquetball-sized ball of clay, stick your thumb in it, and gradually expand the interior by pinching, pinching, pinching the clay between your thumb and your other fingers. Don’t let the hole you first made with your thumb get too big. As the wall gets thinner, use fewer fingers, and for final refinement thumb and index finger only. Wet and smooth the lip. Don’t fret if the lip is a little uneven. It is more charming and organic that way.

Now you have a a bowl for a goblet. For the base, take another little ball of clay and center it on the wheelhead of a potter’s wheel, just like you’ve done dozens (hundreds per year) (thousands by now) of times. Raise a little cylinder with no floor. Spread it out a bit at the.base, collar it in up the stem and flare the lip. Smooth the lip with a bit of wet paper towel, or a chamois if you have one, while the wheel is still spinning.

Bisque fire the pieces separately. Don’t glaze the stem. Dip-glaze the bowl with clear glaze and carefully set it on the stem, and only handle the goblet by the stem until it is loaded into the glaze kiln. The glaze on the bowl will fuse bowl and stem together.

This goblet was made early on in my potter’s journey, perhaps as early as 1989. A goblet I would make now, using the same amount of clay, would be maybe 25% larger, and would not be so topheavy. But my new goblet, though more practical, would be less whimsical. The old goblet is sacred to a time, and my mother liked it enough that she put it on her bookcase across from her recliner, where she wouldseeit every day.

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