I am told that every post should have an eyecatching illustration but here is actual information instead . On Saturday am my partner drove me to a potter’s studio 13 miles outside York where we live . She had emailed via Northern Potters that she was having to sell up due to ill health and had indicated some of the stuff available . I rang up and arranged to go and have a look . I then spent some time researching prices – both 1st and 2nd hand – online . I decided that I was not interested in her kilns which only fired to 1100 deg C and 1250 deg C – it is always advised to have a kiln that will go higher than your usual temperature – but that I was very interested in her slabroller and in any hand tools . In my experience you can never have too many – and it still rankled that I had lost one of my favourites at the Leeds College of Art class when throwing on the wheel .
In the event we couldn’t find it despite an address including postcode and a damn’ satnav ! And I didn’t bring her tel. No – how daft can you be ? Now Google think my password is insecure because I tried to retrieve the relevant email via my partner’s mobile . On the other hand it was pretty countryside and sunny .
In the event it has concentrated my mind on the minimum I need to get a studio operational again . I plan to buy a new kiln – a toploader like my last one but bigger . Toploaders are usually built in cylindrical form or sometimes with an oval cross-section . They are very thermally efficient partly because they only open at the top and partly because without corners they are less prone to cool spots . I also tend to make rounded rather than squared off shapes – even with slabs – so that makes them easier to pack . They are often recommended for ‘lady potters’ but then I am short ! I also looked at slabrollers .
This is a tabletop model . It is a bit like a mangle if you imagine only one roller and a base for it to roll on rather than 2 rollers . The clay is flattened for later cutting into tiles , draping on moulds , or partial drying before assembly like cardboard . I thought I would roll everything by hand with guide sticks but it is a bit of a killer if you have to do a lot of clay at once . I’ve asked my son if he could make one for less than the £640 being asked for the above . If not I will just have to do some weight training……. As to hand tools I do wish I had gone to the workshop on making your own while still at Harrogate College !