I am not going into the history of making pots (or ceramics) as it would take a long time. Suffice it to say it is an ancient art or craft.
Making pots is a very complicated but enjoyable activity. What is needed is: Clay, water and an idea of what to create. Start with a pencil and paper to draw the shape of the pot that is in my head. Problems of making can be considered at this time.
- I normally work on a potters wheel. I select the clay I prefer for the making of the pot. Some potters make their own clay mixtures, but I obtain my clay from a material supplier that is suitable for the pot finish and use for my particular pot.
- Stoneware clay is my usual clay as it fires at very high temperatures up to 1300°C and in The process vitrifies the clay. Porcelain clay is also a high temperature clay.
- The vessel is made using the techniques of
- wedging the clay,
- centring on a wheel,
- throwing the pot on a wheel, and
- finishing the base of the pot by turning on the. Wheel on a wheel.
- The vessel is then dried out to remove any moisture in its body. This may take some Time.
- The vessel is biscuit fired to solidify it into its final completely dry condition. I fire Between 960° C and 1000° C to achieve this. (The result is as porous as a Garden pot.)
- After ensuring that the vessel is sponged to remove any powdered material I wax the Vessel bottom to avoid the pot from sticking to the kiln shelve.
- I have chosen the pot decoration and then apply the glaze material by dipping, pouring. Or brushing onto the pot.
- I then position the pots into the kiln with care to avoid any mishap during firing.
- I fire the pots in the appropriate Kiln. I use three methods of firing.
A. Stoneware glazed firing in an electric Kiln to temp. of 1280° C
B. Stoneware glazed firing in a gas fired kiln, during which process I control the air. Flow in the kiln. This restricts oxidation, and oxygen is taken from the clay and Glaze material to produce fine glaze effects on the finished pots. Temp. 1300°C
C. Stoneware glazed in Salt and Soda vaporized atmosphere in my gas fired kiln. In this process I bring the temp. up to 1240° C and then introduce salt and soda Into the kiln. This then vaporises and coats the pot surfaces as the glaze. This can be achieved in a reduced atmosphere as in B or in oxidation as in A. I continue the firing to temp. 1300°C