February Project of the Month

Making the Perfect Dinner Plate by Joanne Brice

Every month we will be posting a new project on our blog. February’s project is making the perfect dinner plate. Ordinary these posts will go up during the first week of the month; but, since this is the first video I am putting it up early.

Please Post Comments:

If you have some additional tips or questions please post theme here. This blog is a great way for all of us to help each other become better potters.

Project of the Month Contest

Enter dinner plates you make during February (or late January) and win the all new BHC t-shirt.  These shirts are so new that they have not even been printed yet. In fact, the design has not been completed. But, don’t worry they will be cool and you could definitely win one.

Entries must be made by March 12. You must enter a least 2 dinner plates

Plates will be judged by the following criteria:

  1. Overall Craftsmanship
  2. Usability — do they stack, fit in a dishwasher and  standard kitchen cabinet

Plates that come with a New Your Strip steak (medium rare please), baked potato and grilled asparagus will receive great consideration :).

20 Responses to “February Project of the Month”

  1. Kris Kerkela January 24, 2011 at 7:21 pm Permalink

    Thanks, Joanne! This was great… Still watching the video… but had to comment before I forgot. *** I need one of those shrink rulers *** Can I order one on your website? or can I send you a check? I will give you my website address once I get it up and running, but for now I have some of my latest work posted on picasa web..

    I have been carrying on with the pottery and have learned a lot since I left California… I was just about to give plate making a try… now I will feel a bit more confident. Thanks, again.

    • Joanne January 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm Permalink

      Good to hear from you Kris. We are adding the shrink Ruler and calipers to the ‘store’ you should be able to order it soon.

    • Michael Bennett February 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm Permalink

      Awesome Joanne, I am getting inspired to get back to work. Studio is almost finished. Great Idea project of the month…and this is free wow! Mike

  2. Ken Wallace January 24, 2011 at 9:43 pm Permalink

    Nice job, Joanne! This was very helpful, I especially liked the tip about opening up toward your left hand and using your thumb to guide the bead.

  3. BHCAdmin January 25, 2011 at 7:23 am Permalink

    @ Kris: I am adding the shrink ruler to the store today :).
    @ Ken: I agree. Joanne did a great job. I hope to see an entry from you in the monthly contest.

  4. Kris Kerkela January 25, 2011 at 11:58 am Permalink

    okay… that was much easier watching you, Joanne, than trying to do it. I guess I will need years’ of practice.

  5. Paul Hartford January 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm Permalink

    SUPER demo Joanne, and great cinematography Dave.
    One question, why DO you push out instead of pull when opening a plate ?

    I will watch this again and again until I get it right !

    • Joanne January 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm Permalink

      I push out toward 10 o’clock because:
      1 it allows me to better see the base I am creating
      2 there is a tendancy if you pull to the right to go ‘deeper’ as you get toward the edge and then it is harder to get a level base- crucial to a good plate.

      When you start making plates start by using about 2.5 to 3 pounds of clay – make some salad plates to get the technique down.

  6. Pat Tate January 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm Permalink

    Joanne, it was soooo fun to watch you throw again. AND to bolster my confidence in myself in knowing that I was taught by the master (you) how to throw a plate! Time to get back to throwing plates. Contest sounds like a great idea.
    Fabulous website. Love having the videos to instruct us before we get there to the studio!

  7. Joanne January 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm Permalink

    Some things I forgot to mention on the plate video:
    1- I always make two plates and dry them ‘rim to rim’ even if they are not exactly the same size (put wider on the bottom). This will make sure they dry flat and dry more slowly.
    2- The base of the plate, after opening, should be no more than 3/8 inch, trim to 1/4 inch
    3- when you wire plates or any wide piece use the ‘pendulum’ method. Instead of pulling the wire toward you with both toggle handles, use your left hand and anchor one end of the wire at ’10 o clock’ on the edge of the bat and pull the right hand around and to the left- clockwise- this will keep the wire much ‘flatter’ and prevent it rising up in the middle as it come through the base. It also helps to use your stick tool to undercut the bottom outer edge of the plate before wiring – gets the wire started flat and low.

  8. Evelyn Chapin January 29, 2011 at 6:40 pm Permalink

    Really enjoy these videos. Hopefully, we will see Joanne give us a video library of instruction for her students! Its one thing to read, but so much more to see! Thanks!

  9. Geri Peterson January 29, 2011 at 8:27 pm Permalink

    This is great, Joanne! You’re such a good teacher! Opening the floor of the plate with the left hand using a thumb guide was an A-HA moment for me. Another advantage of that technique is a more even floor and no bump in the center. Dave’s camera work was excellent!

    After the Holiday production push, I took the month of January off from clay. But your video has inspired me; I picked up a bunch of clay from Clay Planet today and will work the wheel tomorrow. I still need to make those yogurt bowls. 🙂

    This is exciting to see your demonstration video, and I look forward to seeing more.



  10. Gretchen January 30, 2011 at 7:04 am Permalink

    Thanks for the helpful video! I’ve tried throwing plates off and on with limited success. After watching the video the plates I threw were a whole lot closer to being decent plates! Opening to 10 o’clock – works beautifully.

  11. Elvira Rascov January 30, 2011 at 8:03 am Permalink

    Thanks Joanne for a good video. With lots of practice and following your tips we will improve our plates.

  12. Cindy Saracco January 30, 2011 at 8:55 am Permalink

    Nice to see you’re sharing all your years of pottery experience with everyone. I’m sure it will help many beginning and intermedia pottery students learn new skills. I look forward to seeing your other monthly posts.

  13. Laila January 30, 2011 at 11:35 am Permalink

    That’s great Joanne. I was just thinking of making a dinner set! I would have never thought you had to open the plate in “the wrong direction.”

  14. Les Pederson January 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm Permalink

    Beats the sketchy demo on my Robin Hopper videos tapes!

  15. Stephanie Sandberg January 31, 2011 at 10:17 am Permalink


    Great demo…now I feel prepared to make some plates for the contest.


  16. LD February 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm Permalink

    This is a terrific help. New and useful ideas Thanks

  17. Evelyn chapin February 16, 2011 at 10:54 am Permalink

    Thx for the add. Comments Joanne!

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