Friday, December 28, 2012

December 24th Hint of the Week

Sponge on a Wooden Spoon
If I only had one homemade tool it would be the sponge on the end of a wooden spoon. Most potters use a sponge on a stick, but the sponge on a wooden sponge is much more useful. You can use these when throwing, by using the sponge end to wet the clay, remove excess water by reaching inside small shapes, to rib the inside cleaning up “boogers” and smoothing the inside, and even compressing the bottom. The spoon end is perfect for smoothing and shaping the inside of bowls, cups and other vessels. You can use the spoon to scrape out excess clay shaping the piece as it turns, and/or push the outside into shape like a throwing stick. I generally use natural sponges, but the ones that come in basic beginning pottery tool kits work fine. The best sponges for cleanup, glaze removal, etc. are the cheap artificial sponges, sometimes sold for dry wall, tiling or painting found at hardware and variety stores. These are the ones we use at our sinks in the guild and they are sold at Home Depot or Lowes. Buy several as you'll need some to make your sponges on a spoon... Wooden spoons from the Dollar Tree make the best handles. Unfinished spoons are best and the bamboo spoons work well too. A notch can be cut around the handle end where the sponge is to be tied on, to help secure the sponge. Cut a sponge into pieces two inches long and an inch and a half square. Poke the handle into the two inch part, about half way. Wrap the part with the stick in it with electric tape, wire, fish line, strong string, etc. Save your extra pieces of sponge for when the other wears out, or to make an extra-long one to reach down into those tall pots...

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