We usually start a session in a school with a discussion about the many uses of clay and pottery. When posed with the question “what objects do you think of when you think of pottery?” the children’s answers are predictable – mugs, cups, plates, bowls…. etc. Not so at Finstall First School in Bromsgrove! A YR4 had us in stitches with his answer “old people!” lol
Some stereo types are so deeply ingrained!
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.
Take a look at these fine terracotta collaborative carp made by the students at Regency High School in Worcester.
This jurasic clay creation was made by a pupil from a reception class at Woodlands Infants School, Shirley in Solihull.
The #stegosaurus has been bisque fired and dipped in glaze, awaiting to have it’s feet wiped before its packed into the kiln for a second glaze firing. All the ‘white stuff’ will melt at 1080 degrees to form a smooth glassy surface revealing green, terracotta and sandstone colours.
Bisque fired dinosaurs waiting to be glazed and fired.
A FAQ by our customers is “Can I put my pottery outside?”
If they are doing our ‘Make & Take’ option and transporting their raw, clay pieces home, then it’s a big NO NO! At the first sign of rain their creations will reduce to a sludge.
We recommend a couple of layers of PVA glue mixed with water (50/50 mix) to seal the surface. They can then decorate their object with whatever paint they may have to hand. BUT, under no circumstance should the object be left outside in the rain as it will break down in a down pour. Air-dried clay is definitely for interior, decorative purposes only.
Fired things have made an irreversible chemical change and are much more permanent. Rain & sunshine will have little effect. Snow, frost and ice however, can be detrimental to fired ceramic. It’s all to do with the temperature the clay has been fired to.
The higher the temperature, the more likely the clay particles will have fused together forming an impenetrable material. It’s called vitrification. If on the other hand, if you have a relatively low fired pot, the clay particles will not have fused so much, resulting in the ceramic material being softer and porous to liquids.
As water freezes, it expands. So if you have a low fired pot, the water is going to soak into the body and when it freezes, the ice expands with enough force to fracture the material. Hence cracking and chipping occurs – frost damage.
If we know our customers work is heading for the garden, we will suggest an appropriate clay and purposely high fire the object.
Our Pottery garden is full of high fired terracotta – some of the pieces have been out in all weathers for 20 years or more and they still look pretty good with very little frost damage.