THE SLABROLLER

Hi Everyone,

 A slab roller is an interesting piece of pottery equipment that rolls out slabs of clay for hand-building pottery. Whether manual or electrically powered, all slab rolling machines work on the same principle, in that the clay is essentially flattened between two heavy rollers, very similar to an old-fashioned mangle and produces perfect slabs. The slabs can be made to a variety of thicknesses, depending on what is required and is a significant labour-saving device. One simple definition of a slab roller is that it’s like an industrial size rolling pin!

With a slab roller you can easily produce tiles, components for slab pots, plates, boxes, slabs for pressing into moulds and slabs for creating sculptures.

Like a lot of equipment, these come in different sizes and vary in costs, but a good one will cost several hundred pounds at least. Sizes vary from table tops to slab rollers the size of a table.

Anyway, here is a very brief history of slab building. The earliest slab-built pottery is about 18,000 years old. However, it appears that slab-built pottery was not as common as coiled or pinch pots. Most ancient slab pottery has been discovered in Eastern Russia and the Mesoamerican regions (Mexico and Costa Rica). In modern times there are a couple of potters to check out, who like to make slab-built pottery, namely Alison Britton and Bryan Newman.  Alison Britton hand-builds pots, which  are rolled from slabs of clay and she then uses coloured decorating slips on their surface. Bryan Newman often combines slab and wheel thrown pottery together. So, as you can see slab-built pottery is a whole new area to explore in the wonderful sphere of pottery.

Keep experimenting,

Barry