Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Pottery! My process :)

Lots of people ask me how I make my magnets, buttons or hearts so I thought i'd take some pictures & write up the process, this is how i make a magnet :) it is the same for a button, i just add holes

First I roll out the clay

I use a place mat either side to make sure the clay is the same width 

Then I choose a stamp to use, these amazing stamps and lots of my others :) are from skull and crossbuns

After pressing in the stamp, I use a cutter to cut out the magnet 

They are then left overnight to dry out

When dry, they are cleaned up with a damp sponge to make all the edges smooth 
Then they are added to the kiln, This is done carefully as they are very brittle, I normally break one or a few :(

This is the first shelf

And the 2nd :)

They are then fired up to 1060°CA very slow temperature rise is critical. 
During the beginning of the bisque firing, the last of the atmospheric water is driven out of the clay. 
If heated too quickly, the water will turn into steam while inside the clay body, causing the clay to burst. 
Once the kiln reaches this temperature it switches off and begins to cool, The cooling is also slow to avoid the pots breaking due to stress from the temperature changes. 
the whole process takes about 12 hours, so I usually do it overnight :)

when a piece has had it's first firing it is called bisque ware

Three bisque ware cupcake magnets ready for some glaze :)

The glaze is painted on

then it is wiped off using a damp sponge, this leaves the glaze just in the stamped indent 

Three glazed magnets, the glazes looks really pale but will get brighter when fired :)

The magnets need to be clear glazed, this gives them their shiny finish and will protect them

Three clear glazed magnets, it's kind of like dipping a sausage in batter :) the glaze dries to a power like coating

They then go back in the kiln for another 12hour firing this time to a temperature of 1015°C
glazed ware is not allowed to touch during this firing as the glazes melt they and will stick together so it's a fine balancing act to pack the kiln :)

In the morning opening the kiln is always a surprise as you never really know how things will turn out :)

Here are three finished magnets :)

you can find them and others in my shop Cariad Clay :)

well I hope I've not bored you too much :) x