Confessions: 1. I am not a good driver (a lack in skill) and 2. I am not a patient driver (a lack in character). To compensate for point 2 (since there is really nothing I can do about point 1 at this stage of life), I tend to listen to audio books, podcasts, or sermons while driving because these help to temper my impatience. But, when I have guests in the car, I don’t listen to the IPOD since it feels anti-social.
The other day, sous-potter Jeff was riding with me when I lost it. The pokey drivers were going well under the speed limit – to which I exclaimed; ‘ What are they doing? Do they have pots in the car?’ Jeff found this humorous and asked if I drive differently when I transport pots. Well of course I do (silly sous-potter). I have to take corners more carefully and stop more gradually – considerations that can be dispensed with when there are no pots on the car.
This got me to thinking about the potters at the Art Center. This class session we are focusing on teapots and I have recommended that they take their pots home so they can assemble the teapots at an appropriate dryness. I don’t think any one has taken my suggestions and I suspect it is because they are nervous about damaging their work during transport – which is a valid concern.
However, there are easy ways to transport pots without breakage or damage. My pots travel on a regular basis between Firetower Studio East, Firetower Studio West, arts shows, stores, and the Art Center. Julie is a master packer and I have learned a lot from her; but, I have figured out some things on my own. So I thought I would share some transportation tips:
Greenware – quite easy to transport
- Wet, recently thrown pots transport best uncovered. Cover them after they arrive at their destination to avoid distorting them.
- Leave them on the throwing bats and place them on a flat surface in the car.
Leatherhard pots – optimal transportation time
- Place on wareboards (heavy side down) and set the wareboards on a flat surface in the car. Drive carefully so they won’t slide around.
- If there aren’t a lot of appendages, pots can be stacked.
- Pots can be wrapped in plastic or bubblewrap and nestled in boxes. I avoid newspaper because it isn’t as pliable as plastic and can leave marks on pots.
- With a little planning and plastic, transporting bone-dry pots can be avoided (and it really should be avoided).
- Pots are most fragile when bone dry so it is best to move them when they are leatherhard. Get them to their final destination then allow them to dry completely without moving.
- If you have to move them, place the pots on wareboards and set the wareboard on a flat surface in the car. Drive very carefully to avoid pot-sliding.
- Handle the pots minimally and avoid stacking bone-dry pots.
Bisque – not difficult
- Bisque pots are fragile but can be transported relatively easily.
- Avoid waxing the pots before transport – inevitably, a waxed pot will contaminate un-waxed areas of other pots.
- Wrap pots in bubblewrap or multiple layers of plastic. I avoid newspaper because it smudges the pots and makes extra work (wiping down and waiting for it to dry).
- Once wrapped, pots can be stacked or nestled in boxes.
- If you prefer to transport them on wareboards, you can use a little museum wax to help them adhere to the wareboards. I don’t do this because I am quite messy with wax.
Glazeware – very easily transported
- If I am transporting a single pot, I lay it in the seat for a quick trip.
- For multiple pots, I wrap them in bubblewrap or layers of plastic.
- Pots can be stacked.
- Once wrapped, pots can be nestled in boxes.
- Set the box of wrapped pots on a flat surface in the car – special care when driving isn’t a critical at this point.
Hey Rae, Driving with pots to or from Washington was scary at first. I have found a good way for a few pots (not wet). I put them on a tray lined with shelf liner to prevent sliding and then lay a beach towel over them so they don’t turn over or knock into each other. The beach towel seems to be heavy enough to secure them without damaging them.
What great tips! Thanks for sharing. I will definitely try the beach towel.