I can finally sit back and admire my little pink pedestal cake plate. But for a while there, it looked like it wasn’t going to happen. It started out as a greenware cake plate that I bought at the ceramics shop where I have been purchasing supplies for years. They were having a going-out-of-business sale that day and I bought several pieces of greenware at a discount. The cake plate was among them and it was the last one they had left. (Lucky me!)
I brought it home and cleaned it, sponged it, smoothed it and got it ready for it’s first firing in the kiln. After packing it up carefully in a carboard box I put it in the car and headed towards the kiln rental place. I wasn’t halfway there when it began to rain cats and dogs. If you’ve ever seen Costa Rican tropical downpours you know how much water can come down in just a few minutes. I wasn’t about to brave it so I turned back home and decided to go to the kiln the next day. I brought the cardboard box containing the cake plate back in the house and set it gently down on a side table. In plain view of my cats. Big mistake. The following day I discovered that one of my kitties , or perhaps all three, had gotten inside the box to inspect it (as is their solemn duty as members of the feline community) and had crushed the cake plate and caused it to collapse in the center.
I think I felt more crushed than the plate. I tried to fix it but I discovered that it consisted of two layers and it was hollow in the center between the two. The top layer had collapsed on to the bottom layer. I tried for days to repair the crack with wet clay, but there was just no way to lift up the collapsed pieces without breaking the entire layer.
So I finally decided to just go ahead and remove the broken top layer and leave only the bottom one.
This presented a new problem as I ended up with a deep indentation in the very center that now needed to be either filled in or covered with more clay in order to get this layer to lay flat. Also, the outer rim of the plate had been left jagged and uneven when the top layer was removed. I tried several ways of filling in the center indentation and nothing worked. Finally I decided to just roll out a thin layer of clay much as one would roll out cookie dough, and set it straight across over the hollow center, supporting it with scrunched up newspaper balls underneath and blending it in at the sides. I smoothed out the jagged outer edge with a wet sponge as best I could but it was still unsightly. So I decided to cut out little clay flower petal and leaf shapes by hand and arrange them all around the edge of the plate to hide the uneveness.
Just as I was beggining to feel a little bit smug at having cleverly repaired the plate, I accidentally hit the edge of it with my paintbrush and completely broke the plate off the pedestal. After all that painstaking work! My heart sank. I almost threw it in the garbage right then and there. My daughter told me that the plate was jinxed.
After several days of moping, I half-heartedly decided to try and join the pedestal and the plate together again. Another batch of wet clay later, things were looking better. The pedestal held fast and I crossed my fingers that all these repairs would hold up in the kiln. Oftentimes they don’t.
Thankfully, after the first firing there was only a small circular crack in the center of the top side where I had joined the clay layer to the body of the plate and it had separated a bit. Everything else had held fast though. So I filled in the crack yet again with more fresh clay and then painted the plate.
I wanted it to match a pink and white teapot that my mother had bought me years ago from the Bombay Company. I also have the teacups and saucers as well as the petal shaped dessert plates but the Bombay Company went out of business some years ago and the set was discontinued, so I’ve had to make several of the matching pieces myself.
The pedestal repair held up pretty well in the kiln and you can’t even tell it was ever broken.
And now my tea set is almost complete with the extra pieces I made.
I also made this creamer and sugar bowl to match the Bombay Company teapot, and the little lavender edged pedestal plate underneath the teapot, but that’s a whole other story…..
I’m keeping my fingers crossed so that the plate doesn’t break or slip out of my soapy hands when I wash it. Wouldn’t that be the topper?
Joining Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Joining Show And Tell Friday at My Romantic Home