As soon as the jar is finished and will hold its shape, cut it from the spinner top with a thin wire or a linen thread. Grasp the ends of the wire, hold the wire firmly against the spinner top, and cut through the clay with a sawing motion.
Turn the bowl upside down on the spinner and center it. Place small pieces of paper and wads of clay against the bowl to hold it in place. With a pointed wooden tool, check the centering of the vase. Then, holding the tool about 1/2 inch from the outside edge of the base, mark a circle. Dig out the center of the bottom 1/8 inch deep by spinning the wheel and using a wire loop tool. Apply an identifying monogram.
The greatest of care must be taken in drying pure clay pieces. Rapid drying causes the clay to shrink unevenly and to crack. One should allow from a week to ten days for drying, depending upon the weather. First, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave it in a cupboard or under a large tin can. If neither is available, cover the piece with a damp cloth and a waterproof cloth. If the piece has handles and a spout, wrap them separately with smaller cloths and retard their drying until the rest has dried completely. The piece should be dried upside down if possible to retard the rim from drying and shrinking unevenly. If the jar cannot be turned over, a light bulb placed in the mouth of the jar will serve about the same purpose.
After several days, remove the cloth and leave the piece in a closed cupboard or under a waterproof cloth. When the clay begins to appear dry take it out of the cupboard or uncover it and place it on a shelf in the room with only a dry cloth over the entire piece. The handles and spout should still be covered separately. After another day remove the cloths, and when the clay feels dry to the cheek it is ready to be fired. Clay pieces before they are fired are known as "green ware."
Never pick up a "green ware" piece by the handles.
Art-ware pottery is often ornate and poor in design and form. Simplicity and gradual transitions in lines are more adapted to clay. A flared bottom or sharp edge is a structural weakness. Fragile spouts and handles are unsuited to this medium.
The shape for a pottery bowl or vase should be determined by its future contents. Will the flower stems, be long or short? Are the flowers delicate or very large? Is the vase to be used in a bedroom or in a large living room? Is it to be decorative while it is empty as well as when filled? What is the shape that would best hold the contents? Does the bottom seem to set securely on the table? Think of the vase or bowl as being shaped by its contents from within its walls. Do not think of it in terms of a silhouette outline, but consider its volume and purpose in planning each piece of pottery.
The cake jar in Plate XLV is a variation of the cylinder. The brown underglaze leaves were painted at random around the walls of the piece. It is a useful and decorative piece in the kitchen. The lid, waxed mahogany, was turned on a lathe.
The large teapot in Plate XLVI holds twelve cups. Since such a weight would be difficult to handle, a fragile form was not used. The spout and handle match each other in shape.