Archive for December 30, 2017

You can’t rush art

A potter's wheel pot turned into a giraffe by a creative child at Eastnor Pottery & The Flying Potter

Customers are sometimes surprised at the length of time it takes before they can collect their ceramic masterpieces.

We work on a completion period of one month from day of making.

Most of this time is drying time, dedicated to ensuring the work is bone dry through-out. If you attempt to fire a wet or slightly damp pot, the water in the clay will bubble and steam at 100 degrees on the kiln’s accent to 1000 degrees. As you can probably imagine the boiling water causes catastrophic damage to the clay with objects prone to exploding or splitting apart.

The first firing is called the bisque firing and takes a couple of days. When the pots emerge from the kiln, they have made an irreversible transition. They are now ceramic, but are still quite soft and porous.

The bisque pots are dipped into a bucket of un-melted glass particles in suspension. The glaze particles cling to the surface of the pot forming a layer of powder resembling a heavy frost.

Ethan glazing course participants pots at eastnor pottery

 

Once the bottoms of the pots have been wiped clear of glaze, they are loaded back into the kiln for a second ‘glaze’ firing.  The pots are fired higher this time to a temperature of 1080 degrees Celsius. This allows the glaze particles to melt, forming a smooth glassy surface on top of the ceramic.

Two days later, the finished items are unloaded from the kiln.

ethan unloading kilns at eastnor pottery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phew! So much process, so much time!

CPD clay skills

Staff from Dean Close School Cheltenham learn pottery skills at Eastnor PotteryThese three teachers from Dean Close Co-Educational Independent School in Cheltenham came and spent a day with us in November learning about clay and making techniques.

This is what they had to say about their experience:

“We all learnt so much and helped us to reinforce the basics whilst giving us the confidence to pass our knowledge onto the children we teach.

A highlight had to be throwing a pot! We all loved it and can’t wait to get practicing.

Sarah and Jon were so friendly and welcoming and their experience and knowledge was excellent. Thank you both so much.”

Slips & underglazes

Potter's wheel participant painting their clay pot with coloured slips and under glazes at Eastnor Pottery

We tend to keep things simple here at Eastnor Pottery. We encourage our guests to paint their freshly thrown pots in coloured slips (watered down clay) and under glazes (similar to those used in paint your own pottery cafes)

Customers value the immediacy of being able to achieve a decorative effect at the raw stage, close to how the pot will turn out post firing.

We are always staggered at the ingenuity and variety of what people make and how they decorate them. Take a look at these hand thrown creations made by eight individual adults on a weekend potter’s wheel course back in October.

NFU coat of arms

Pottery coat of arms made by NFU West Midlands at Eastnor Pottery Herefordshire

The West Midlands contingent of The National Farmers Union visited the Pottery in October for a spot of team building and creative play. The group spent an hour or so meeting in the Potting Tent (a unique conferencing suite if ever there was one!) before joining us in the  studio for the main pottery event.

The group made a ceramic crest, a clay coat of arms depicting agricultural aspects of the five counties. There were two representatives from Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire, each sub-team charged with a separate section of the crest. There was also ample time for everybody to throw a few pots on five potter’s wheels we’d primed for the occasion.

New skills discovered and everybody feeling relaxed and refreshed, the team headed back to their Telford HQ.

Last week we headed into Shropshire to deliver their ceramic masterpiece to be hung in their office – a permanent reminder of what can be achieved through teamwork.

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