Right as I was starting back at the process, my hair dryer bit the dust. It may have even melted out the outlet on the power strip. I suppose clay and electronics do not mix well. I ended up picking up a Wagner 10 Amp Heat Gun that night at Home Depot. It isn't too powerful - no flames shoot out the end - so I think I'll manage to control it.
One step in the process was giving me grief. I wanted to be able to cut the plate off the bat while it was still wet so that when applying the heat, there wouldn't be added stress by the bottom sticking and the top drying. So I added enough heat to the pedestal and arm to lift the plate and inserted a paper towel underneath, compressed the plate again to reset the memory of the clay, and continued to add heat until it was firm enough to turn over.
I'm still dealing with the flatness of the surface and having to trim a little bit and continue to throw it out an up to create a little bowling effect. So much for an elegant process - but at least the end result it looking fairly elegant. In the bottom picture, the one the right is my latest stab at the process. The one on the left looks a little lopsided to me, although it could just be the picture or the base it is standing on.
I had a potential Etsy customer ask if I could do a custom order 11" plate, so I'm currently working on making larger pieces. With 10% clay shrinkage, I have to throw it at least 12.2" wide and leave some play room for the ruffles.