Work on a piece of pottery requires many different stages and often spans several weeks for completion.
Here I will explain our process and the stages of production.
Our usual process in the pottery studio is to make work in batches.
A day’s work starts with checking the production list which Nadia has provided. It is arranged by type of item, colour and priority.
If the list says to make standard mugs, I will look at the chart, determine the amount of clay and prepare 30-40 balls on average. I prepare My wheel, tools, water, and coloured clay slip for decorating. I have a standard list of measurements marked out on a plastic tool and use a sponge on a stick to set the height and width. Throwing a batch of 30 mugs typically averages 3 hours. These will be set aside to stiffen slightly as they dry and then covered in plastic overnight.
In the afternoon, I work on the pieces that were thrown the previous day. This involves attaching handles if the pieces require them, slip decorating, and trimming the bottoms to create a nice foot. Once these steps are finished the greenware (unfired pottery) is set aside to air dry. The pottery will be left to dry for up to 2 weeks depending on the complexity of the item.
After the pieces are dried they are placed in the kiln for the first of two firings. The first firing is called a bisque firing and it hardens the clay but leaves it porous. The kiln is heated for about 8 hours and then cooled for another 12. The pieces are then removed from the kiln and dipped in glaze. We have four main glaze colours that we use in our production line. Stormstone, Butterbone, Bluegrass, Autumn Harvest and our most recent addition Copper River
Once glazed, the pots go back into the kiln for the final glaze firing. The kiln is brought to a temperature of 1260º Celcius (2300ºF) with the temperature being held there for 25 minutes, and then the kiln is cooled slowly over 24 hours.
After the kiln is cool, the pots are removed and the bottoms sanded to remove any imperfections caused by the firing. We then price the pots, enter them into inventory and sort them into orders for the stores that stock our work.