Wednesday, January 29, 2014
New Ribs by Xiem!
It seems like every month, we get in more and more awesome products from Xiem, one of our favorite young tool companies. In addition to all of their products just being very high-quality -- stainless steel! carbide!!! -- these tools never cease to amaze us with their simple innovations. Say you're a potter who frequently uses a sponge on the end of a stick -- Xiem makes a version of that, complete with a telescoping handle. How many times have you used the ubiquitous wooden throwing stick and wished that the shape was just a little different? Xiem reconfigured that classic in a flexible, coated-wire form in their Potter's Wand II. Basically, this California-based company just takes the ceramic studio staples that we all know and love and just makes them better.
This month, all of the potters here at The Ceramic Shop have been excited over Xiem's new line of rubber ribs. We love our rubber ribs! Because we carry so many -- from the Kemper standard to the very extensive and variegated line of Sherrill MudTools -- we've had plenty of opportunities to test them. These new offerings from Xiem, though, actually do manage to bring something new to the realm of rubber ribs. The shapes are well-considered, yes, but my favorite feature of this new line is the thickness. All ribs are a hearty 1/4" thick, which gives you a little bit more of a grip when maneuvering large pieces of clay.
Also, while I have been loving these for work on the pottery wheel, they can also double as handbuilding implements. Currently, I am really enjoying the versatility of Xiem's orange #5 rib. This large triangular rib is soft enough to use on smaller wheel forms, but has this nice curve that makes it perfect for shaping larger bowls. I've been using it for my slab work quite a bit, too, as its softness and flat side make it a really good tool for smoothing down the surface of my large serving platters.
We love to hear YOUR feedback about tools that you love, as well!