In the platters, Washington explored the principle of pushing his ideas and the medium to the point of break-down, which he had advocated to his students, but he hadn’t done himself. The Platters may be seen as a return to a more pictorial format. In them Washington used and “overrode” his considerable knowledge of ceramic chemistry to see what happened when a material was used “wrongly”. He exploited the resulting shrinkages and exaggerated crackles for their relief and textural qualities. The platters size and unorthodox additional materials gave difficulties, and he partly blamed his hip-replacement operation on their weight.
Platters fall into the three types characterised by their construction: Type 1 with the edges lifted and folded; Type 2 with the cut-off edge from around the batt re-used as a high edge; and Type 3 with thrown rims.