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Lids & Lessons


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Lids & Lessons

Jenny Dowd

This week an accident led to a nice memory as well as a reminder to plan ahead. 

While glazing several bisque-fired honeypots I broke a lid. The loop handle, while cute and functional, is also rather fragile. When a lid breaks, usually that is also the end of the vessel. Clay shrinks during the firing process making it nearly impossible to re-create a lid with a good fit. 

This lid issue reminded me of an indirect lesson I picked up from Yoshi Ikeda while I was his student at Kansas State University. He would make lots and lots of lids- separately from the teapot forms. Once the teapots came out of the kiln Yoshi would go through this collection of lids, trying each one until he found the perfect fit and design for the teapot. If a lid broke, there was always another one in the box.

At the time this seemed counter to what I was learning about craftsmanship, not to mention eccentric. Now this sweet memory reminds me of process, the evolution of ideas and problem solving. It has also encouraged a planned approach to lidded forms. 

Yoshi Ikeda | Teapot

Yoshi Ikeda | Teapot

When I started making honeypots a few years ago I would keep the jar or lid if the other part broke or didn't fit well after firing. This led to a box of random parts, but nothing ever fit and they kept piling up. I finally realized that if I made the opening of the jar the same diameter every time and made the lids the same diameter, then they would always fit! For the past year I have used this technique, so this time, I'm pretty sure my replacement lid will fit.

If you have one of my honeypots and have broken the lid, let me know. I might just have a replacement lid that fits!