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Keeping Records

Planning and recording can be easily overlooked, particularly when hands are covered in clay and writing is the last thing on your mind.

I learnt the hard way. When studying ceramics I would be so in the moment, believing I will remember what process I used, what colour slips or glaze, and what firing temperature. I quickly learnt that as the week/s passed from beginning to end of the process I would forget. Then when there was a success I would not be able to repeat as I couldn’t remember exactly the journey that piece of work had been on.

To overcome this, particularly when I started throwing, I created a log sheet. It records the date, back then a code, the weight, what clay was used, how many pieces I’d made in that batch, and any decoration details. I was never as organised as I would have like to have been, as it would have been ideal to record what the glaze firing was too.

This log sheet is still used, slightly adapted as I no longer code my work and now I will include dimensions post throwing now if needed. I keep a separate log book for one-off designs and do record firing temperatures in this one and include a photo of the completed work. The log sheet is really quick to fill out as it’s a table, tally is used to record quantities made.

This document has served me well. I do refer back through it, sometimes years later to re-visit a design I like.

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