Plates, done quickly and simply

First off, this will be the 22nd post of this blog and I’d like to say that things are moving along well with it. People seem to be enjoying it and finding it helpful, so that makes me really happy and I want to thank anyone who’s been supportive.

I’d also like to note that 2 blog entries were featured on Pottery Making Info’s blog review for June. If you’d like to check it out, here’s the link:

Secondly at this point in the blog I’ll be focusing less on general technique and more on specific products from week to week. That being said, if I do think of something or notice a common theme in my day to day teaching that I think should be addressed, I will write about it here. Also, I am open to requests. So if there is something that you’d like me to discuss, please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to write about it.

Now then…On to plates.

It should be noted that plates are one of the easiest things in the world to hand build. Simply pick a template you like, roll out a slab to your desired thickness, put the slab on the template and drop it on a table from a short distance, wait and…poof you have a plate. What I love about making plates that way is that its pretty passive, much less chance of anything cracking and you can make other things while they dry. If you’ve never tried it, I would encourage you to give it a shot.

That being said, since I mostly focus on throwing, here’s how you throw a plate.

I will start off by saying that I used to hate making plates until I met Justin Mullady. He introduced to this plat making technique and it really is smooth, elegant and easy to perform. You can check Justin out on Instagram.

The method is simple, center your clay and then continue to center in flatter and wider that normal.

Once you’re done centering, open up with a shallow depth and pull the opening till you have roughly a 1 inch wide rim. You’ll then want to throw the rim like a shallow bowl using a cut chamois cloth.


Put your right index finger underneath the rim and your left hand on the inside of the plate holding the cloth. The cloth should be wrapped over the rim.

Throwing it in this manner will continuously compress the rim and allow for a nice curve. Most people think plates are completely flat, but if you look at the plate you use, you’ll see this is not so.

To finalize the curve and the shape use your ribs. I prefer a red mud tools rib.


I like to use the flat side for the inside of the plate and the long round side for the inside curve of the plate. Once you’ve done that and are happy with the look of your plate, trim up the bottom, pass a wire under it and this is the most important part: LEAVE IT ON THE BAT!!!!

Do not under any circumstance try to take it off before it is leather hard. Doing so is almost a guaranteed way of warping the plate.

Now leaving things on a bat is a nightmare for communal studios, so I recommend buying your own and marking them as yours or working on plates during down times and letting the plates dry in the sun or in front of a fan so you don’t tie up all the bats.

That’s about it, below you’ll find 2 videos of me throwing a plate from a top and front vantage point.

Hope this helps in making plates and till then, get to the studio and make something.

Questions on the technique, email me at, like what I’m doing feel free to shop my Etsy store

2 Responses to “Plates, done quickly and simply”
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  1. […] week I went over how to make plates quickly and easily. This week we’ll extend that technique to the classic shape of the chip n’ […]


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