Wildwood Pottery

Hand-crafted Porcelain and Stoneware

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Frequently Asked Questions   

  1. Do you make this pottery?
  2. How long does it take to make a piece?
  3. Are they safe for food?
  4. Are they dishwasher safe?
  5. Are they microwave safe?
  6. Can I bake in them?
  7. Why don't two bowls of the same design exactly match?
  8. I broke a lid.  Can you make me another one?
  9. How do I order?
  10. When can I expect to receive my order?
  11. Do you do special orders?
  12. Other questions...

Do you make this pottery?
Yes, I do!  Each individual piece is hand-crafted from start to finish.  Beginning with bags of clay, I throw or handbuild, glaze, and fire each and every piece, giving careful attention to each step in the process.  Most decorative designs are hand-brushed; however, a few are executed using handmade stamps which are impressed into the clay or applied over the glaze.
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How long does it take to make a piece?

The total time varies greatly with the complexity of the piece.  Here is what it takes to produce an “average” piece: 

Wedging (kneading)        5 to 15 minutes
Throwing        5 to 20 minutes
Drying        24 to 48 hours
Trimming        5 to 20 minutes
Attaching other parts        5 minutes to 1 hour
Drying        2 days to 2 weeks or longer
Loading kiln        20 to 30 minutes
Bisque firing        18 to 20 hours
Unload kiln        10 to 20 minutes
Glazing        5 to 30 minutes
Load kiln        30 to 45 minutes
Glaze firing        9  to 14 hours
Unload kiln        10 to 20 minutes
Inspect and add finishing touches        2 to 20 minutes
Prep and clean up time are extra!

A simple piece can be completed in about 64 hours of hands-on/firing time; a complicated piece may take 3 weeks or longer.  This assumes that all goes according to schedule and there are no accidents.

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Are they safe for food?

Yes, all pieces are completely safe for use with food.  All my glazes are lead free.  In fact, I do not have lead in any clay or glaze material in my studio.   

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Are they dishwasher safe?

Absolutely!  In plates and bowls which do not have a foot ring and therefore have no glaze on the bottom of the piece, discoloration of the exposed clay may occur over a period of use.  Therefore, you may choose to wash these pieces by hand.  However, the dishwasher will not harm the piece and is safe to use.  The one exception to this is unglazed bakeware.  These should be cleaned with plain water.

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Are they microwave safe?

Yes, glazed pieces are microwave safe with just a bit of caution.  The piece must be heated evenly in order to avoid thermal stress.  Therefore, put enough food in the plate or bowl to cover the bottom of the piece.  I did crack a pottery pie plate (not mine--was made by another potter) once in the microwave.  I had put a small amount of butter in the center of the pie pan.  That one spot grew very hot and expanded, while the area around it stayed cool.  The result was a cracked plate.  I had baked in it many times before this.  Please do not repeat this sad experience!!  Also, I do not recommend putting unglazed ware in the microwave.

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Can I bake in them?

Yes, some pieces are made especially for use in the oven.  Protecting them from thermal shock is essential!  That means warming and cooling them slowly and evenly.  We suggest baking at 350˚ F. or less and starting in a cold oven.  Bake on convection bake if you can.  In a conventional oven, put an empty cookie sheet on the lowest rack and put your pottery on the next higher rack.  The cookie sheet will deflect the direct heat of the element away from the bottom of the piece.  A cookie sheet is not necessary in a convection oven because the fan does this job for you.  If you freeze food in a baking dish (we do not recommend this), bring the food up to room temperature before you put the pottery dish into the oven.  When done baking, set the piece on a wire rack to cool after removing it from the oven.  You may also warm food in the oven to 200˚ F. in any pottery piece provided you follow the guidelines for protecting the piece from thermal shock as outlined in this paragraph. 

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Why don't two bowls of the same design exactly match?

Since every piece is individually made, no two pieces are identical.  Each piece is one of a kind, bearing unique markings such as throwing rings (impressions made during the throwing process), a hand-applied decorative design, and signature.  Accent glazes often flow and drip and therefore will be different on each piece.  Together these reflect the "character" of the piece and are telltale signs that the piece is hand-crafted.  If you prefer to have pieces which match exactly, you would probably be happier with poured ceramics or commercially produced ware which normally are very close to identical.

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I broke a lid.  Can you make me another one?

Yes, I can, but I cannot guarantee that the colors will exactly match nor that the lid will be a perfect fit.  Because clay shrinks during the course of becoming finished ware and each lid is specially fitted to the pot as it is being made, it is difficult to reproduce a part of a set and have a perfect match.  If I have the pot in hand, the odds are better, but there are still no guarantees.

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How do I order?

Complete ordering information is posted on the Ordering Info page.

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When can I expect to receive my order?

If we have the item in stock, we will ship after ...
          1.  Your check is deposited and has cleared the bank, or 
          2.  Your money order is received.
Including transit time, you should have your piece in 4 weeks or less. 

If we do not have the item in stock, we will ship after...
          1.  Payment is taken care of as outlined above, and
          2.  The piece is thrown and fired, a process which takes at least  four weeks (if there are no accidents!) for smaller pieces and longer for larger pieces and those with attached parts such as handles. 
Including transit time, you should have your piece in 8-10 weeks.

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Do you do special orders?

Yes, we welcome special orders.  Email your request and we will tell you if we are able to complete the pieces you would like.  Special orders take longer than orders from the catalog, especially if the piece is one which hasn't done before.  Usually several trial pieces must be thrown to get just the right combination before completing the order.  Please allow extra time for special orders:  10-12 weeks is usually enough.

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Other questions...
Do you have other questions you would like to see answered here?  Please email them to me at comments@wildwoodpottery.com .
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Copyright © 2002-2008 by Merrilyn Reeves
Revised: 05/08/10 09:46 PM -0700