Although not all potters aspire to be production potters, all potters will benefit from the skills required to make dinnerware.  Potters who can make multiple pots similar in form and size are efficient throwers and have the technical skills to accomplish any sort of pot.  Their only  limitations are desire, creativity, and time.

Essentially, there are two basic challenges to making dinnerware sets:

  • Similar pieces must be similar
  • Dissimilar pieces must relate to one another

Challenge No. 1:  Similar pieces must be similar – essentially, this means that each salad plate you make should be like every other salad plate in size and shape.

Here are some tips that can help to accomplish this:

  • Measure, Measure, Measure
  • Weigh the clay and record it
  • Note the starting diameter of the clay disc before opening and record it
  • Measure the inner diameter and record it
  • Measure the outer diameter and record it
  • Measure the height and record it
  • Measure anything that is helpful to you to replicate the shape and record it
  • Make adjustments to define the pot shape and establish your ‘recipe’
  • Use the same tools to throw and shape the pot – changing tools will result in a different outcome
  • If trimming a foot, trim to a specific diameter (this is the easiest challenge to overcome)
  • Throw all the pieces in one sitting (ex. make all the salad plates in one session)
  • Trim all the pieces in one sitting
  • Make an extra piece – if you want a place setting for 4, make 5
When making multiples, don’t overlook a good pot simply because it doesn’t match the set.  A bowl might be a good bowl in its own right – keep it and use it individually or as a glaze test.