top of page

Getting started with Lidded vessels

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Lidded jars and vessels can seem like quite a daunting task at first so I hope this little guide will help you start planning and hopefully making some successful lidded forms :)

What you're aiming for:

- A lid that fits snugly on or inside the body of the pot and does not move around too much.

- A lid that suits the profile of the body, for instance if you've got a very angular pot, you may want the lid to match that style.


- Try to always make the lid and body at the same time or at least take notes of the dimensions when the clay is freshly thrown because the next day it will already have shrunk a bit so the measurements will be different and it will be harder to make a lid that matches perfectly.

- Its also best practise to fire the pieces together, so the lid sitting in the jar. They will expand and contract together in the kiln and so firing together will hopefully mean they won't warp to the point of not fitting together anymore like they could if you fired them separately. Remember to leave a wide berth of non glazed area where the two pots connect so they wont stick together in the kiln!

- Check the angle on surfaces of your pots, you may have a flange or gallery that is slightly at an angle (hopefully on purpose aha) and so you'll want the parts of your lid that you want to sit on that area is made at the same angle.

- Plan it out before hand and maybe have a sketch within sight while making so that you can ensure you're measuring the right areas. It's very easy to accidentally measure the inside diameter of the jar instead of the outside for example which could be wrong depending on the lid style and it gets confusing as you make throw the lids upside down to the way they'll be once finished so having clear notes always helps.

Useful Tools

A bat system - although not entirely necessary, they do help to limit warping as you handle your piece less.

Ruler/ Calipers - Measure pieces between making the body of the vessel and the lid to make sure they will fit properly. Calipers are useful as you can set and lock their measurements so you dont have to remember specific measurements. Although best practise would be to write down all these measurements anyway just in case anything breaks or cracks during firings, you have a record of its dimensions when thrown and so could recreate it.

A right angled tool - Can be any you have already, doesn't matter whether its metal, wooden or plastic. It helps to make precise edges on your flanges and galleries.

Handles and Knobs

Three ways:

1: Throw your lid with a thick base (around 1-2cm) and then trim this excess into a lid form. Remember to compress the base a lot when using this method to reduce the risk of s-cracks forming!

2: Attach a small piece of clay (around 2 by 2cm) to your piece while its still attached to the wheel but you've finished trimming it. Simply crosshatch a small area in the middle, add a dab of water and then attach the lug of clay and throw it as normal what ever shape you like.

3: Handles - can be made in any way you prefer, pulled, slab rolled and cut or sculpted for example. And then cross hatch on both the handle and lid, apply slip and press the two sides together, attach firmly and clean it up to get rid of any excess clay or slip.

In methods 2 and 3, just like with handles on mugs, you've got to dry these pieces slightly slower than normal as the newly added handle is a lot wetter than the trimmed piece, it'll need a day or two to equalise and firmly attach.

Two at the back are flange style lids, so the pot is a simple cylinder and then the lids have added flanges so they sit securely.

Small jar in front is an example of gallery style lid. So its a simple flat disc lid that sits on top of a gallery on the inside wall of the jar body.

All three lids have pulled strap handles.

Flange Style lid with sculpted handle

Gallery style lid, you can see the gallery on the inside wall of the body of the jar.

Lid thrown as a simple bowl with a thick base so that when I was trimming I could carve this lid out of the excess clay, making sure to give it that triangular side profile so its easier to grip.

Hope this little guide helps! Please feel free to send me questions if you have any and I'd love to see pictures of pieces if you try any of these methods :)

46 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Getting started with fermenting and pickling

In this post I'll introduce you to some of my favourite fermenting and pickling content creators and also some recipes to get you started. Traditional Kimchi Recipe


bottom of page