Wheel Thrown Compost Crock
by DirtKicker Pottery
I took on a customer inspired challenge to make a wheel thrown Compost Crock because it sounded like a great way to stretch my throwing skills. I didn't know much about composting crocks, so I did some research and found out they are not just a garbage can for banana peels. A functional compost crock requires some features which turned out to be hurdles during the making process.
My goal was to make the crock with a fired size of 9-10" tall and 7-8" wide. This would mean I would need to throw 11" tall and 8-9" wide. Easy enough.... umm not really. From the beginning I made a big mistake - I should not have used my soft porcelain blend clay. Not only is porcelain too expensive for this type of piece, it doesn't have enough tooth. It would be best to use a clay with some grog to help make it easier to pull the crock walls taller and thinner.
I don't have much experience throwing larger pieces, so I thought I would start out with a 5lb lump which was too small. I only got about 8" high. Then I moved on to 6lbs, which I got to 9" high. Finally I threw 7.5lbs, which was the ticket for 11" tall and 8.5" wide.
Most of my photos are with the 6lb lump. By the time I got to the 7.5lb lump, I forgot about taking photos.
Centering 6-8lbs lumps wasn't bad. I just started with centering the top portion of the clay and slowly cone centered the entire lump.
When opening I used the heel of my hand.
I left the bottom about 1/3" thick and compressed it well.
When pulling up the walls I kept the pulls as even as possible. I left a good amount of clay at the rim for strength. I kept the top fairly narrow until the final rib shaping. As the walls got taller I slowed the speed of the wheel so I wouldn't lose center.
Final thrown crock
7.5lbs - 11" tall, 8.5" wide
I decided to design this crock to be used with a flanged lid on a straight rim. Many people who use compost crocks use the biodegradable crock liners and it turns out that a lid gallery makes it really difficult to remove the full liners from the crock.
The lid is a whole other can of worms (pun intended).
Apparently the compost sweats inside the crock and condensation can form under the lid, so the lid needs ventilation holes and a sleeve to fit a carbon filter. So that is the next hurdle that I will address.
To be continued…
All designs, photos and content herein are owned by and ©copyright Cindy Gilliland.