Unless you work in ceramics it's hard to appreciate the work that goes into creating a finished piece of pottery. Many people ask me what's involved so I thought it may be useful to show you the various stages and what I have to factor in when costing a finished piece.
Time is the number one biggest cost. From start to finish one of my bowls involves 8 stages and takes 7 days to make. SEVEN. This straight away limits how much I can make as my house would be covered in unfinished bowls! Here's how I spend those 7 days.
APPROX 20 MINS This is the fun bit and ironically takes the smallest amount of time. I vary my work between using a wheel and hand building.
APPROX 24-48 hrs Before you even think about putting a piece in the kiln you need to leave it to dry (this can vary a great deal depending on the temperature of the room)
APPROX: 10hrs The 1st of typically 2 cooking stages and involves putting a piece of pottery in a Kiln to completely dry out. This is done at 1000 degrees. At which point you should have a rock solid piece of pottery.
APPROX: 10mins Essentially this the equivalent of painting something ready for the 2nd cooking (known as a "fire"). At this stage your bowl is looking far from finished and covered in what looks like a white paint.
APPROX: 15mins If I am creating a "Bombay" piece of this is when i add finely broken pieces of glass at the base of a Bowl. This part is pretty fun because I get to use a hammer and smash up a load of Gin Bottles!
You put your glazed painted bowl into the Kiln a 2nd time (only 1300 degrees time!) This is when the magic really starts to happen and your glaze reacts with the hot temperatures to form the shiny piece of ceramic.
APPROX: 10mins For most potters you're done at this stage but due to my recent addiction with all things shiny I now have to paint on the gold glaze around the rims of my bowls..
APPROX: 12hrs To bring out the true gold the bowl then needs to be put through a 3rd and final cook (firing) at 700 degrees.
TOTAL DURATION MAKING A BOWL: 7 days