Working in my studio in the early morning hours is the best. It's cooler, and the light is great. But even better, there's a fellow on my local NPR station that I enjoy listening to - Dave Berns. He has a buttery voice, and his interviews have just the right amount of sweetness and "in yo' face" inquisition.
So imagine my delight when he interviewed the Las Vegas Review Journal food writer, Heidi Knapp Rinella, this morning. I've been a fan of her columns for a few years now, especially her "Taste of the Town" column where people write in, asking where they can buy different food stuffs around the Vegas valley. Some requests are downright bizarre, but most write in, trying to find something they used to buy "back home." See, Las Vegas is a land of mostly transplanted people, so it's common to miss regional foods from wence you came.
Come to think of it, Heidi never got back to me about trying to find Himachi here, I'll need to write to her again...
But listening to Dave's interview, I started thinking about food and eating, which is common when I work. I'll spend my working hours dreaming up what I'll be cooking for dinner that night. And depending on the weather, and what's ripe in the garden, I'll either grill or make sushi.
Call me silly, but I think cooking is relaxing.
And I was thrilled to hear that Heidi thinks the same thing. In her interview, she said after a long day at work, she loves to get into her kitchen and cook the night away. I couldn't agree more. Pour a glass of wine and rip apart a baguette and I'm pretty much in heaven.
Which brings me around to this sushi plate/dim sum platter. I was thinking about making PotStickers tonight. This platter is the perfect way to serve them.
I had a "vision" about a year and a half ago, this design just popped into my mind, and I've written about it a few times here. Scroll down a bit and you can read more about the special drill bit I made to form the small bowl within the platter.
I start with a plaster form, and while it's still relatively soft, drill the recessed area.
Once the female half is finished, it's covered with a soft slab of clay, enclosed back in the form, and the male part of the mold is poured. That way, both halves match perfectly. OK, I'm a little anal.
I labeled them and made small registration marks, which makes life easier later on. Notice that I marked where the bowl is located; once the slab is on top of it, you'll have no idea where the impression is located. I learned that the hard way, as you might suspect.
So I start with some ultra soft clay and roll out a nice slab. Now starts the tricky part...
Then, some work on the wheel ...
I need to make the three "feet" that go on the underside of this platter, so I used my handy extruder for that. The one I own is a....
and it's quite similar to a hand held caulking gun. I give it a quick spritz of WD-40 and squeezed out a few "tubes" of clay. I actually had a short video of this, but it was rather disgusting, so I thought felt it was best to skip the video.
Trust me on this.
Below, the platter is setting up nicely, and is just about ready for the feet to be added.