Creating pieces out of clay is a multistep process!
Each mug, bowl, cup, or vase begins as a lump of clay. I throw each form on the wheel and once it has dried enough to support its weight upside down, I use the wheel to trim off the excess clay to find the true shape. If I am making a mug, I then have to make a handle and attach that to the cylinder shape. I also roll out pieces into slabs to form flatter pieces like my trays, platters and ornaments. Once the pieces have dried, they are ready to be bisque fired to a temperature of 1888 degrees Fahrenheit. From the time I close the lid and start the kiln to the time I open it once it has cooled is about twenty-four hours.
After the pieces are unloaded, I can begin designing and painting. While some pieces are painted completely free hand, I often use a pencil and measuring tape to make a sketch on the surface before painting. The pencil burns away in the final firing so I do not have to worry about erasing the lines I don’t follow! I use underglazes in a small bottle with a fine needle tip to draw my designs on each form.
For the glaze firing, I brush clear glaze on the painted surfaces and a bright beautiful color on the insides. Then, the work is once again stacked in the kiln for the final firing which reaches a temperature of 2232 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the kiln is cool, pieces are unloaded and I sand the bottoms to ensure that they are smooth to the touch.