Timing is critical in life and especially in pottery. After I had taken pottery classes for a while, I realized that if I wanted to make better pots I had to do two things: practice more and control the drying time.
But no matter how well-thrown a pot is, if the drying time is not controlled, then the pot will never be as good as it can be. If pots are dried too quickly, they can crack and attachments can pop off; and, it is impossible to trim a dry pot well. However, working on a pot that is too wet will cause the pot to be distorted or damaged. It is a delicate balance.
Because of the number of pieces that comprise a teapot, there are several drying challenges through which to maneuver. Before I had my own studio, the best way I was able to manage the drying time was to transport the teapot pieces home and assemble them when they reached the appropriate dryness. Although there is no better substitute for managing the drying time by keeping a close watch on the teapot, here are some tips for navigating to a successfully assembled teapot:
- Throw the spouts when the teapot is ready to trim; they tend to dry very quickly. After trimming the teapot and lid, the spouts should be dry enough to attach.
- Pull the handle and allow it to set up before attaching it in order to reduce the amount of pulling required; this will minimize distortion of the teapot body.
- Once the spout and handle are attached, check the teapot to verify that it hasn’t been distorted. Adjust if necessary.
- Once assembled, allow the teapot to dry under plastic for a few days.
- Dry with the lid on the teapot to accommodate for best fit.