Crashing Horse Teapot by Dennis Meiners,
2007 best in show winner at the Portland, Oregon Ceramic Showcase.
Dennis does 99% of his work with slabs. Amazingly, he does not use a slab roller. While at the glaze workshop in 2008 I discovered by accident that saying "slab roller" within earshot of Dennis was not a good thing to say. Ever. At first I thought it was funny, but soon realized that I'd better cut out saying "slab roller" around him for the sake of my own long term health. However, I was curious to know how he could get along without a (shhh, just in case he's listening...) slab roller, since most of his work starts off as a slab.
What he does to make slabs is to wedge clay and then systematically and with great control throws the clay onto a canvas surface which stretches out the clay. From time to time he uses a large diameter dowel to roll out the clay, then continues to throw the slab down to thin it out more. It's really amazing to watch the slab grow in size, and you start to think that it looks a heck of a lot easier to make a slab this way compared to using a slab roller.
Once he has a slab he is satisfied with, he uses it to make many different things. He makes fantastic mugs, teapots, and platters (as well as other beautiful objects). He's a very accomplished brush artist and is a master of glazing, and has a wicked sense of humor. (My kind of guy for sure!)
Adding a handle to a slab mug
Adding a spout to a teapot
Assembling a texturized slab into a box.Thanks Dennis, for the great workshop and the inspiration! You can check out Dennis' beautiful work at his website, and if you know anyone who is looking for a fantastic property with an amazing art studio, let them know that Hummingbird Studios is looking for a new owner!
Finished slab built mugs - fantastic!