We recently collaborated with the whole of Broadwas Primary School in Worcestershire to produce this brilliant tile panel interpretation of their school emblem.
Each pupil made an individual tile from soft clay before adding detail and painting in coloured slip.
We transported all 100 tiles back to the Pottery to be fired, glazed and returned to the school for ready for installation earlier this year.
The panel is mounted on the outside of the school near the entrance, welcoming pupils and visitors and serving as an excellent reminder of what can be achieved when everybody works together.
…and, if you study the school’s website banner photo roll for long enough, you’ll see our very own Jon the Potter facilitating a potter’s wheel assembly!
This rather striking terracotta mammoth was made by Jon the Potter at Worcester Museum and Art Gallery. Families were invited to drop by and help make the ice age beast as part of an exciting year long project called Lost Landscapes of Worcestershire. The project culminates in the summer of 2018 with an exhibition at both the Museum in Forgate Street and The Hive.
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.
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.
Phew! So much process, so much time!
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.
Each pot made on a potter’s wheel by a first time participant is totally unique. The shape is as individual to its maker as their very own fingerprint – everybody holds their hands in a different way.
Once participants have experienced the joys of making a pot, they are offered the opportunity to further individualise their freshly thrown ware by decorating with coloured slips and underglazes.
The variety of approach to colour and theme is awe inspiring. Just take a look at the multitude of effects (and shapes) of these recently fired & glazed customer creations.
A sample of Eastnor Pottery’s customers creations made on the potter’s wheel and hand decorated.