|The drying process is, in many ways, more stressful to clay than the firing process. Uneven drying can lead to separation at small joints, and warped or cracked edges. While some clay bodies and forms are more vulnerable than others to these stresses, ensuring an even drying process before firing is always helpful.
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ware made from forgiving clay bodies can often dry in the open air, if
there aren’t any drafts to cause uneven drying or thin projections such
as handles. These tend to dry first, since they are exposed to airflow
on all sides. Long handles or similar structures with two points of
attachment are especially vulnerable, since the clay at the two
attachment points may dry at different rates, creating tension. This
tension can lead to breakage either at the joint or on the handle
itself. For these vulnerable pieces, wrap the fragile part in a scrap
of plastic to slow its drying rate to match that of the rest of the
piece. Or apply wax resist to these areas for a similar result, if you
don’t mind the extra expense, production time and unwanted fumes during
the bisque firing.On Edges
Thinner and completely surrounded by air, edges are another vulnerable
area where fast or uneven drying can cause warping and cracking. To
protect thin edges, tear up plastic strips and place them on the rims
of still-damp pots, slowing the drying process. Pottery with level rims
can also be inverted to rest on its rim, effectively turning the whole
piece into an edgeless closed form, though this can be hazardous for
very delicate or not-quite-level rims.
2. Uneven drying causes tension that can crack handles and rims.
3. Dry pots upside down to even out the drying process.
4. Wrap handles and rims with plastic to help equalize drying.