Working large scale with unmanageable clay.
Yesterday I wrote about the trouble I was having making the largest sized ollas and I think I’ve come up with a solution. I reached down into the Clint Eastwood bag of adapting, improvising, and overcoming to solve my problem. A large part of the issue is me not throwing this size of pot very often so I’m way out of practice. The second issue is the clay being recyled and used immediately; it’s short and sloppy. When potters talk of short clay they don’t mean that it’s height challenged, rather, they mean the clay has not aged and it has a crumbly texture that doesn’t have enough strength to it to throw very well. There’s not enough organic decay taking place and the clay is not plastic enough to form easily. Plastic clay has an almost buttery feel to it and it has the ability to stand up tall with out collapsing.
I had hoped to be finished making the ollas in ten days. Today is day nine so even with the pneumonia and my large sized olla problem, I just might make it! All of the 1/3 and 1/2 gallon ollas are in the kiln. They will come out, after they’re cool, in the morning and then I’ll start firing the 1 gallons, and then the largest will be last.