Wildwood Pottery

Hand-crafted Porcelain and Stoneware
 


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The Process 


The beautiful porcelain and stoneware pieces you see  here bear little resemblance to the clay they originated from weeks and months ago.  Many changes occur during the journey from lump of clay to the finished piece on your table.  The following is an overview of the process.  Please check throwing and following pages for a more detailed explanation.

          The potter first wedges or kneads the clay to remove any air bubbles and to insure that the consistency is uniform throughout.  Then the ball of clay is literally “thrown” onto the wheel, and water and pressure are applied to center the clay.  Yes, this takes practice!!  Once the clay is centered, the potter will open the clay by creating a depression in the center and then slowly widen the hole by pressing the sides outward.  Now the sides may be pulled and teased upward into whatever shape the potter chooses.

          When the piece is completed, it is allowed to dry to the leather hard stage.  Then it is trimmed, lids fitted, handles added and decoration applied as desired.  The pot is now set aside to dry slowly until it is completely bone dry.

          The greenware (unfired clay) pot will remain very fragile, easily broken, and of little use unless it goes through the fire.  In the bisque firing, the pots are slowly raised to the desired temperature.  During this process, all the remaining water is driven off and the tiny particles of clay begin to change to stone.  

          The bisque ware which emerges from the first firing is less fragile than unfired clay, but is still unusable as functional pottery.  Glaze and decoration, if desired, must be applied and the piece fired a second time.  During the glaze firing which reaches a temperature of nearly 2200o F, the clay matures to dense stone and the glaze chemically bonds with the clay, resulting in pottery which is durable, chip-resistant, and waterproof.

          Unless the pot goes through the fire, it remains fragile, easily broken, and of little use.  During the first firing, the greenware (unfired clay) is slowly raised to the desired temperature and all the remaining water is driven off.  The bisque ware which emerges from the first firing is less fragile than unfired clay, but is still relatively unusable until glaze is applied and the piece is fired a second time.  The glaze firing reaches a final temperature of nearly 2200o F.  During this firing, the clay matures to dense stone and the glaze chemically bonds with the clay, resulting in finished ware which is durable, chip-resistant, and waterproof.

          The finished pot is now ready for use in your home.  The pot’s configuration, the unique glazes and decoration form the artist’s distinctive signature to her work and her fingerprints are found on every piece.  

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Copyright © 2002-2008 by Merrilyn Reeves
Revised: 05/08/10 09:46 PM -0700