-
     Making the Pottery    

Throwing the pot
Throwing the pot
Terracotta clay is first worked to remove any air bubbles before weighing it out into workable amounts of 8oz, 12oz, 1lbs, 2lbs and 4lbs. Equal amounts of clay help to maintain the same sized pots when they are thrown on the wheel. When thrown, the pots are left to dry , usually overnight, until they are at a reasonably firm state to turn. Turning is a process whereby the pots are put back on the wheel, spun and detailed using metal or wooden tools. They are given 'feet', handles and spouts if necessary at this stage. If a pot has been given a handle, it is left to dry again overnight.
Dipping
When the pots are at a firm enough stage so as to handle, a 'leather hard' state, they are then dipped into a white clay 'slip'. The slip I use consists of ball clay and china clay mixed with water to a thick creamy consistency. This base white makes the colours which I will put on later much brighter. Once dipped, the pots are left to dry again to a leather hard state before I paint them.
Dipping
Painting
Painting
Above is a picture of the 'paints' which I use to decorate my pottery. These are colours made with the white slip as mentioned above mixed with oxides to my own recepies. They appear and feel like painting with acrylic paint. Oxides are the chemical compounds of at least one oxygen atom and at least one other element ( for example, red iron oxide is rust) and are used in ceramics as a colouring agent. When mixed with a glaze, they can create different colours depending on the firing process. In an oxygenated firing (electric kiln) chromium oxide will produce green, cobalt oxide will produce blues and black, red iron oxide will produce a terracotta pink/red and copper oxide will produce a green. There are a few confusing exceptions, as some oxides will produce different colours when in a 'reduction' firing (gas kiln). Copper oxide, for example will produce a bright copper.
Drying
I paint my pottery using a variety of different application techniques. Some of my designs are printed with a cut out sponge, before I paint them using brush techniques and then outline them with a slip trailer. I paint the rims and handles last of all, tidy up the base of the pot and them leave them to dry out completely before I can fire them in the kiln. Smaller pots can take a few days to dry, larger pieces can take up to a couple of weeks. The first firing process, or 'bisque' can take about 8 hours, and a further day for the kiln to cool.
Drying
Glazing
Glazing
When the kiln has cooled and I can handle the pots, I then begin the glazing process. The pots are brushed off, and dipped as shown into a glaze. My glaze consists of borax frit, china clay, ball clay and cornish stone, mixed to a thin creamy consistency. The pot once dipped in glaze appears white, but this will turn into a thin layer of glass once fired. The pots are put back into the kiln and fired again to a temperature of 1100 degrees centigrade. The glaze firing usually takes about 6 hours to complete, and again a day for the kiln to cool down.