Family make ceramic Daffodils at Eastnor Pottery in memory of beloved family member

Family make ceramic Daffodils at Eastnor Pottery in memory of beloved family memberWe’re closed Friday 19 – Monday 22 April. Back to it on Tuesday 23rd and have sessions starting at 10am, 11.30am, 1.30pm amd 3pm. Booking essential and you can reserve your session by calling 01531 633886 or email admin@eastnorpottery.co.uk

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our lovely customers a Happy Easter and we look forward to welcoming you back to the Pottery soon.

yellow pottery chicken made at eastnor pottery & the flying potter

yellow pottery chicken made at eastnor pottery & the flying potter

Family workshops in the Easter Holidays

Hard Boiled!

16 – 27 April 2019

We’re delighted to announce details of our fun, creative and ‘eggstraordinary’ themed family workshop sessions scheduled for the Easter break.

Hard Boiled is the title and families will get the opportunity to fashion an egg cup or egg inspired sculpture using tried and tested clay modeling techniques under the expert tutelage of professional potters.

We’ll show you how to create a hollow form using the ‘pinch pot’ technique and then it’s down to you to let your imagination run wild. Although the theme is Easter based, we’re all in favour of letting people follow their own design process. The hollow form can be shaped and moulded into almost anything…humpty dumpty, dinosaur, fluffy chick or shark – we’ve seen a fair few unicorns of late too.

The fun doesn’t just stop with the hand making. Participants get to decorate their freshly created masterpieces, there and then with a colourful palate of paints and underglazes. All this for just £20 per person.

If hand modeling isn’t your thing then there is plenty of opportunity to try the potter’s wheel instead starting at just £30 per person.

The creations will need to dry out before they can be fired and glazed. This process takes about a month and the Pottery will contact you as soon as they are out of the kiln and ready for collection. Don’t worry if you can’t make it back to Eastnor to collect your ceramic arty-fact, P+P can be arranged at £5 per item.

The Hard Boiled project is available Tuesday 16th April until Saturday 27th April inclusive, although please note the Pottery will be Closed 19-22 April. 1.5 hr sessions commence at 10am, 11.30am and 1.30pm and 3pm. Telephone and email booking essential: Tel: 01531 633886 e: admin@eastnorpottery.co.uk

Kiln technician Aimee unloading the kiln at eastnor pottery

Once visitors have left the Pottery having had a fabulous time creating their clay masterpieces, they may be interested to know what happens to their ‘makes’ left behind. Aimee is the key person responsible for the aftercare of customers work as it makes it’s journey from clay to ceramic. She describes part of the process below:

“After our customers have made their pots and decorated them, there are a few processes they will go through before customer and pot are re-united.

Clay is left to dry out until it is bone dry and there is no moisture left. This can usually take several days but we use the assistance of radiators and fan heaters during winter and the sun’s rays during summertime to speed up the process a little bit. Whilst clay dries, it shrinks by a small amount of about 5-10% so it’s also important not to expose clay to too much heat too quickly as this can cause it to crack.

Once pots are dry, they are ready to be fired. They have to be fully dry as any moisture still within a pot when being fired will evaporate, potentially creating air bubbles which may cause a pot to ‘explode due to there being nowhere for the air to be released to. This is why clay can’t be made too thick or projects such as pinch pots need an airhole. One way to tell they’re dry is how they look visually. With the grey stoneware and red terracotta clays we use, pots dry a lighter shade compared with when they are freshly thrown off the wheel. Another way is the ‘cheek test’ by placing the base of a pot to your cheek. A dry pot is usually cold and you can’t feel any moisture on you cheek.

All pots go through 2 firings. The first firing is known as a bisque where pots go through the change from clay to hard pottery. At this point, pottery is still quite porous which means it will later absorb glaze easily. A bisque firing reaches a maximum temperature of 960 degrees – very hot! This firing gives a matte, pastel-like effect and can be chalky at this point. 573 degrees is the temperature point in a bisque firing where clay changes its state to hard pottery and becomes irreversible. The term is called Quartz Inversion.

The second firing pottery goes through is a glaze firing. We use a clear glaze which is what makes pots waterproof and functional. Pots are dunked in the glaze and their bases are wiped. The reason for this is so that they don’t become stuck to the kiln shelf. A glaze firing has a maximum temperature of 1080 degrees – even hotter! Between 1000 and 1120 degrees is where the pottery changes state again from bisque to the final product. This final firing produces the final product making your pots functional, dishwasher proof and usable

Fun fact: When packing kilns, pots can touch each other in a bisque but not a glaze. The reason for this is because as the glaze melts, any pots touching will become stuck together during the cooling down process of the firing.”


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couple making pottery on the potter's wheel at eastnor pottery herefordshire

Over the past six months we’ve been running an occasional ‘Makersprofile’ series of Instagram posts featuring selected customers. If they are agreeable, we ask them three simple questions to accompany their photo:

  • What made you visit us today?
  • What was your favourite part of the session?
  • What do you do when you are not making pottery?

Helen & Dan (featured above) visited us in October 2018 and were great sports:

Q: What made you visit us today? H: We’re doing 40 new things before our 40th birthdays!!

Q: What made you visit us today? H: We’re doing 40 new things before our 40th birthdays!! This is number 2, our first new experience was a virtual reality escape room in Birmingham! I’ve never baked a cake, so that’s on the list too! D: We also plan on going to Disneyland Paris, and holding a new animal, like a koala bear or something!

Q: What was your favorite part? D: Watching Helen struggle haha H: Trying something outside of my comfort zone!! Q: Do you have any Hobbies? D: I’ve been doing martial arts for years now, since I was 13! I’ve punched in the face a lot. H: I’m a lecturer in travel and tourism – We love travelling as much as we can. We go to Vegas every year and have recently been to Bruges, Majorca and been on a Norwegian cruise! We have a budgie called Brain!

Immy Wedging

Immy Wedging

Immy is responsible for ensuring the clay is at it’s optimum condition ready for our customers to use on the potter’s wheel. Here she explains the process of clay preparation:

“Before any piece of clay is put on the potter’s wheel, we must ensure it is the correct state for our customers to throw their creations with. We do this by wedging the clay. Wedging, or kneading the clay, involves using your hands to roll the inconsistent clay in a smooth motion. By doing this we are pushing out any air bubbles that may be hidden in the clay, air bubbles can crack customers pots or be dangerous to put into the kiln.

Another reason we wedge is clay is to make sure it is the right consistency to throw with. It would be almost impossible to create a pot on the potter’s wheel with a piece of clay that is too hard or too soft!

We never waste any clay in the pottery. The bits that fly off during centering, the leftover parts from a pinch pot, the soggy stuff you find at the bottom of buckets, all unused clay is collected together and wedged back into a nice consistency for the next person to use.

If the clay becomes too hard to wedge, we do a process called slicing and dipping. As the name suggests, we slice the hard clay, dip it into a bucket of water, pull it back out and place it into a fresh bag. The clay is then for a few days to absorb the water. After that it is taken out of the bag and wedged together!”

 


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