Nooks and crannies can be evil

my burnished jugI tried out a couple of these little jugs with the idea that this might be a design that some of my potter friends in Nicaragua could use. The potters there have few tools and they wood-fire at a low temperature because they cannot afford to use a lot of wood or any electricity. Burnishing is the finish of choice, so designs have to take that into consideration. For instance, I usually pull a strap handle directly from the pot but the shape of a strap handle and the flat join where the tail end of the handle gets stuck to the pot would be very difficult to burnish. As it was, the tiny depression in the middle of the handle¬† of this jug and even the relatively smooth handle joins still took a long time to burnish. When you are a subsistence potter, you don’t want to be wasting time burnishing nooks and crannies that should not have been there in the first place.

Likewise the inside: I left tiny throwing lines on the inside which were almost impossible to burnish out, especially since once you get your hand inside there you can’t see what you’re doing.

On the other hand the one-piece design, where you throw a small vase and then cut away the clay on one side leaving just enough of the neck to form the spout,¬† means there’s no join that might crack when drying and it’s easy to burnishing the smoothly-flowing spout area.

It’ll be interesting to see if this design makes it to market. Stay tuned.

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