Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Make a Piece of Pottery

Sometimes people ask why a piece of pottery costs what it does. A few years ago I found this somewhere (sorry I can't remember where) and just ran across it again and wanted to share.
What Goes Into Making a Piece of Pottery?
(so glad you asked!)
Using a mug for an example you
1. Pick up clay -OR pay $$$ to get it delivered.
2. Unload truck - load clay into studio.
3. Weigh out amount needed.
4. Wedge (knead) clay.
5. Center clay on wheel and throw the mug shape.
6. Remove from wheel and let dry 24-48 hours; depending on humidity.
7. Put mug back on wheel and trim.
8. Hand create handle.
9. Let handle dry 1 to 5 hours, depending on humidity.
10. Attach handle to trimmed mug.
11. Cover handle in hot wax to slow drying on very dry days.
12. Let dry 1 week minimum. If mug cracks at this point, re-cycle clay and start over at step 3.
13. Take mug to kiln in the and fire to ~1800 F - about 15 hours.
14. Take mug back to the studio for glazing. If mug has cracked during 1st firing, discard to the landfill and write off.
15. Mix glaze(s). Each glaze requires approximately 3 hours to weigh mix and sieve.
16. Put wax on the bottom of mug so it does not get glaze on it that will stick to kiln shelf.
17. Choose design and glaze mug. This can be a quick dip - or an elaborate design taking an hour or more to create.
18. Let mug dry thoroughly.
19. Bring mug back to the kiln and place gently within the kiln. If glaze scratches or gets bumped on journey, wash with hot water, let dry, and start back at step 13.
20. Fire glazed mug to approx 2150F; approximately 24-28 hours depending on electricity demands.
21. Hold at peak temperature for approx. 20-30 minutes. Make sure all shelves reach the same temperature (cone); then slowly fire down.
22. Wait around 14 hours for kiln to cool to under 400F before opening.
23. Remove and check mug. If cracked, write off. Start over at step one.
24. If mug has miraculously survived to this point, clean sharp bits off bottom with grinding stone by hand, and put out for sale (!)

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