Ceramics is a slow craft. There's no instant gratification when it comes to making handmade ceramic wares but I find just as much joy in the process as I find in the finished product. Each piece, whether a drinking vessel or decorative vase, is made by my two hands using the gift from the earth that is clay. I touch each piece multiple times as it goes from a ball of clay to a vitrified functional item for your daily use.
This is my process.
Most vessels start off as a ball of clay. From there, cylindrical forms are thrown on the my secondhand 1970's potter's wheel. Sometimes I forgo the wheel make handbuild from slabs of clay that have been rolled out. Once the piece is formed, it is then left to slowly dry to the proper hardness so that it may be handled without marring. Drying can take a day in the summer or several days in cooler months.
Next, pieces are trimmed to clean them up and remove excess weight. This is where pieces really come alive. At this stage, forms are altered in shape if so desired and mugs receive their handles.
Afterwards, work is covered in thick plastic to allow for even and slow drying. If handles or other appendages have been applied, it is best to dry slowly to avoid cracking. The drying process can take anywhere from several days to a week, but it is important to allow pieces to completely dry out to "bone dry" state so there is little to no moisture before firing.
Every piece undergoes two firings. The first firing (bisque) is at lower temperatures and transforms the clay from its fragile bone dry state to a porous, yet hardened, piece that can now be glazed.
In the simplest terms, glaze is glass suspended in water. At La Casa De Pinos, I use a combination of food safe in-house and commercial glazes. Once a piece is glazed, it is fired once again to 2232 degrees F and becomes vitrified, or impervious to water.
The entire process takes about 2 weeks for a single piece to go from a ball of clay to a functional piece of pottery. My work is a result of countless hours of practice, research, and experimentation. It is truly a reflection of me and I hope what I put out there into the world helps you elevate your every day.