This past Tuesday, I observed Merrill Krabill construct a teapot during my Ceramics 2 class. He was showing an example of how to properly trim the body and lid of the pot. In the previous class period, he had thrown the body, two spouts and a lid.

Here, Merrill trims the bottom of the body of the teapot. A finished lid and two spouts sit waiting to be added to the body. The teapot has to be at just the right moisture point to trim. Too wet, and the clay is too soft. Too dry, and the pot will become hard and difficult to trim and add pieces to.

Merrill carefully applies the spout, using a little ring of clay to help attach the piece to the body. Before attaching the spout, he makes sure to drill holes to allow tea flow after the pot is finished.

Finally, Merrill lines up and attaches the handle to the pot. Placement of the handle is key; it will determine how the weight of the pot is distributed for pouring.

Trimming and assembly are just two of the numerous steps that it takes to go from raw clay in a bucket to a finished piece on a table. Ceramics is a delicate and intentional process and potters are never perfect, but getting a handle on this process does bring them closer.