Our Ceramic Process
This is the room in The Shed/Chelston Workshops where handbuilding happens. Here I am demonstrating one of my Coral Reefs
Below: greenware or raw clay, drying out with a variety of props to help support flimsy items.
The hair-like corals have been made by pushing clay through a sieve and attaching to a solid surface.
Clay is joined by 'scoring and slipping' which means that you scratch both surfaces to be joined, wet them with slip, which is a semi-liquid form of clay, and attach them. Edges can be smoothed down so as to improve the join.
Now we have the bisque firing which dries out the clay and sets it. Here is our bisque kiln.
Now we glaze the item. I use underglaze paints, always at least two coats, followed by two coats of a clear glaze, painted on. If you use an actual glaze, then items are usually dipped, but in this case, have to be painted on. A 'glaze' basically leaves a layer of glass on the item, thus making it waterproof.
Below I will show pictures of the coral being glazed, followed by pictures after the final 'glaze' firing, on the right.
You will notice that the tall corals have been left unglazed so as to mimic global warming or bleaching. Here on the left they have been 'waxed' which means that I have painted a liquid wax on (which burns off during the firing) so that if I mis-paint it, it will be easy to clear the paint away. The broken piece is intentional.
The green stubbly bits on the left have been unglazed resulting in the finished parts being a matt effect.
Underglaze colours are just a plain colour like a stain. When you add a clear glaze to a dried underglaze colour, everything appears white before the firing. Most items shown the left hand side are after painting and glazing.
The seahorse on the left (above) has been waxed after painting and glazing.
The coral in the lower half has been dabbed with three underglaze colours like red, green, brown, followed by an Ashy green glaze, which on the left has a greyish appearance before firing, but afterwards splits into green and blue colours, adding to the effect.
The 'flower' for want of a better word was streaked with several underglaze colours to give it the effect shown. Again on the lower part of the coral, you will see where I've used an ashy green glaze as described above.
Below you will see an example of my Mandarin Duck from pre bisque firing, underglaze paints applied (before application of clear glaze), and the finished duck after the glaze firing.
Here is our glaze kiln
Note the wooden dowel holding up the tail feathers
With underglaze colours, you get what you see. For 'effects' you need to use glazes, some of which are designed to run.