story of the stuck lid 5.11.2017

A couple months ago I enrolled in a one-night session of a handbuilding class at Midwest Clay Project. The guest teacher was Rachelle Miller from Hands In Clay (who is a great teacher, by the way!) She focused the class on lids, and that night I made this beautiful piece.

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The glaze is Coyote Opal, and it’s a tad runny, so when this piece came out of the glaze kiln, the top was stuck to the bottom. When I sadly showed this to a studio mate, she told me about a trick she’d recently heard about for unsticking stuck lids. First I put the piece in the freezer for at least two hours.

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Then I warmed water in my big cast iron skillet. Just enough water so that when the pot is put in, the water level comes to the top of the bottom section. And start with WARM water, not hot. I transferred the pot from the freezer to the warm water, then turned on the heat underneath the skillet and started heating up the water.

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It took several minutes, and in that time I could hear little clicks and clacks from the pot as the cold top separated from the hot bottom. And oh such an amazing and wonderous thing – IT WORKED!

Where the glaze had stuck the pot together, there were small, sharp bits of glaze left. You can see them in the next photo. I got out my handy dremel tool and ground the sharp areas down.

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And now I think I’ll use it as a garlic roaster! I love, love, love the color of the opal glaze. And it’s great to know how to make a lidded piece!

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