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


  1. That's so cool to see how they are made and so lovely to see my designs in action! Keep making those magnets ;-)

  2. lovely i think they are amazing

  3. Wow! Thanks for sharing that Chloe! Really interesting read and i quite fancy a go myself now :)

  4. Not bored at all! I love knowing how things are made. Clay fascinates me and its a good job i dont have the space or the time or I might try it too. Great post

  5. oooh. Looks like fun!

  6. Fascinating to read how it's all done!

    I love ceramics, I've had little tries at it in the past but would love to do more. The glazing process in particular is wonderful - like alchemy!

  7. What a fascinating read - thank you so much for sharing your techniques! I always wondered how you made your gorgeous pieces :)

  8. Wow- great photos and brilliant to find out about the stages involved to get to such a lovely product:)

  9. Oooops I such a ditz!!! I've just realised that I wrote up a comment yet didn't post it. Doh!!! Anyhoo, just wanted to say I love your work, simple and stunning. Just fabulishious. I find myself rearranging the magnets all the time, tehe!!! Thanks for letting us find out about your art. Huggles babs. XXX

  10. Do you have any problems with clay memory as you roll outthe slab instead of slicing it?

  11. Sometimes I do, I always give it a good wedge between each roll

    Most of the time i do slice into slabs, I just bag up all the offcuts to use when all the slabs have gone :)

  12. Love seeing how you work, it sort of looks really familiar!

    Though you are so tidy, my studio always looks like a bomb has dropped. Apart from the "before next making cycle starts" when it gets a good clean and a mopping.