I've been struggling with my clay the last few days, trying to develop a decent body for throwing larger pieces. I really don't like throwing (or should I say "really can't throw") with very smooth clay, so I'd bought a hundred kilos each of lightly grogged stoneware clay and raku clay (very groggy), and tried mixing them together in various proportions. It's not a bad combination but lacking much plasticity, and as soon as it dries out a little the clay begins splitting and falling apart when wedging. Soooo, I had to go back down to Valentine's today and buy a load of smooth stoneware clay to counteract the over-grogginess. The traffic in Hanley on Monday afternoon is something to behold, especially with the added joy of roadworks in the centre..I was pretty glad to escape the snarl up and head home.
The price of clay seems to have shot up over the last few years, along with everything else. I considered trying some White St Thomas clay, but they are now asking a hefty £16.45 for a 12.5kg bag! It's alot cheaper if you buy 100kgs, but it still works out at around £10.00 a bag.
Anyway, I wedged up a new batch as soon as I got back and tried throwing a jar with a rolled rim. Only my second attempt at this form, so I was fairly pleased with the result. Ideally, with some more practise, I'd like to throw them a little taller, with a thicker, more "wabi-sabi" rim.
The Japanese are masters at making vases of this shape, and I am in awe of the work of potters such as Otani Shiro , who works in the Shigaraki tradition.