Pottery Lessons – Slab Oval Roasting Dish | Clay

I started my first oval roasting dish and it’s awesome.

This week at pottery class I knew I wanted to make something for the kitchen. I had done my research on using stoneware items in the oven. Apparently, it’s fine just as long as you place it in the oven whilst it’s still cool – I will have to see how this works when a pre-heated oven is required… Like do I heat up the dish and then put my chicken in it?? TBC…

Anyhoo, so I did some flicking through of ye ol’ Pinterest for some inspiration and I decided to settle on a more oval shape for my dish.  As it turns out, making an oval dish is super easy when using the Slab Roller.

 

Slab Roller for rolling out clay with an even thickness.
Slab Roller rolls the clay out to an even thickness by using the crank on the side and varying board widths.

Slab Rolling Your Clay

The Slab Roller is so simple to use. In fact, that’s what I love about Pottery. All the tools and equipment are so honest. We use forks, toothbrushes, chopsticks, PVC pipe and just anything you want really. The Slab Roller is two pipes connected to a crank. the second part looks almost like a book but imagine the back cover is a hard piece of board and the top cover is canvas. You place your wedged* clay on a canvas mat on the board and cover with the top canvas. You then roll this through the machine, back and forth, until the clay is smooth and even. You can make the clay slab thinner by adding more boards below. Simple, hey?

 

Oval Roasting Dish Without Handles
My Oval Roasting Dish Without Handles

Making My Oval Roasting Dish

1) Cutting the Clay to Shape

To make a dish that can withstand an oven the clay the base and walls need to be quite thick. So I rolled out my clay then used one of those big rulers- a bit like the ones your teacher used to use on the blackboard- and just cut two strips for my walls. I then rolled out enough clay for a base. Fortunately, Dee had a cardboard template for a dish base so I just placed it on my clay and cut it to shape.

2) Score and Slip

So remember I mentioned a fork and toothbrush earlier? Well, these two items sit in a bowl of watery clay which is called slip. You use the fork around the edge of your base and strips to score the clay. It helps add grip when joining the two pieces together. The toothbrush is a great way to transfer the slip on to the scored edge. I’m sorry I didn’t take a photo of this.

3) Join Dish Walls to the Base

I then carefully lifted each wall and placed the scored edge on top of one another. You score and slip to join the two wall strips together. Then very gently you use your fingers to blend all the joins together. For the inside of the dish, you roll out a thin clay worm and wet your fingers. You gently push this piece between the base and the walls and smooth the joins together. Wet fingers help to stretch the clay and juts makes the whole process easier. This step gives the dish a delightful curve inside whilst securing the pieces of clay together.

4) Smooth the Edge of the Dish

As always this step takes quite a bit of time. I just smoothed out the top of the wall, the sides and just generally neatened up my dish.

5) Decorate the Dish

I just used this weird plastic swizzle stick to add stripes to the bottom of the dish.

6) Handles for the Dish

My clay was still very fresh which means it’s quite soft. This obviously isn’t ideal for adding handles yet as they will warp the walls or just fall off. I just decided to wrap my dish in plastic so it doesn’t dry out by next week. It should then be dry enough to add handles.  Yippee.

 

Oval Roasting Dish with Lines Around the Base
My Oval Roasting Dish with the Pattern I created using a Swizzle Stick. Who would’ve thunk?

 

*Wedge Clay: This is when you knead-but-not-knead the clay against a surface. The aim is to remove any air from the clay. You kind of roll it back int itself.

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