How long does it take to make pottery?
How long does it take to make a pottery?
Making a pot is a process made up of many individual steps. If you have watched any of my videos you may have noticed that the lump of clay becomes a pot quickly almost magically. Check out the ‘What is clay? page to learn more about this amazing material. Below is a basic outline of the pottery creation process. Please note that this is a overly simplified explanation. This process is often varied and altered to fit the needs of the artist and the work I am creating.
First step, prepare clay by wedging. Wedging is a process much like kneading bread dough, which aligns the clay molecules, removes air pockets, and makes the clay more uniform.
Next step is to do the initial shaping. Initial shaping can be done on the potter’s wheel or by hand or a combination. After shaping, allow time to firm up-(Approximately 24 hours).
Next day: Potters call this stage ‘leather hard’ meaning the clay is still workable.The bottom is finished by trimming and/or smoothing depending on the shape and the artistic vision for the piece. Next, attach any handles, spouts, etc. that are needed.
Allow pottery to fully dry. Potters call it ‘bone dry’. This step may take 3 weeks or more depending on the needs of the piece.If a terra sigillata surface is envisioned, apply and buff. This step must be done on bone dry clay.
First fire: Bisque fire piece. The bisque fire allows the clay to be transformed from clay to ceramic material. The heat drives off all water molecules even those that are chemically bound to the clay molicules. The kiln reaches 1850°f. From start to finish the bisque fire takes 36 hours to heat and cool.
red hot kiln
Now is the time to glaze the piece. Any areas that I do not want glazed needs to be waxed. A liquid wax is applied via a brush and allowed to dry. Then glaze can be applied. Application can be achieved using many different methods: brushing, spraying, or dipping. I mix my glazes in 5 gallon buckets which affords me the ability to submerge the piece. This allows a more even coverage of glaze. Most of my glazes are in the Majolica tradition, which utilizes a white base glaze with colors applied on top. I generally spray the color onto the white base glaze, though I sometimes use the colored glaze like a paint, creating a one-of-a-kind work of art.
The glaze then must be fired. This melts the powered glaze particles and develops the color and texture of the surface. The glaze kiln also takes 36 hours to heat and cool, and reaches a temperature of 1975°f. (Please note that the time and temperature are specific to my work. Other potters uses different processes which affect time and temperature.)
The pottery is now complete and ready for use.
Why is the underside of handmade pottery unglazed? Why is the underside of handmade pottery unglazed? Typically pottery made in factories are completely glazed, while handmade studio pottery often has an unglazed bottom. Glaze begins as a fine power applied to the...
Where in the world did those words come from? Kiln is derived from the Middle English word Kilne, which is derived from an Old English worn cylene, meaning oven, which is itself from the Latin word culina meaning 'kitchen, cooking stove' (which is the root word for...
How to fire pottery in a potters kiln.