Process- Forming and Bisquing
All Zyra-ware starts as measured powders and water mixed together from a formula and turned into smooth white clay in a large vat. The clay is then put through a pugmill, which suctions out all the air and compresses it into a log, ready for me to weigh out and then “throw” or “turn” on the potters wheel.
Once the pots are formed they are allowed to dry to what’s called “leather-hard”; that is, stiff, but still malleable. At this stage, the pots are turned over and re-centered on the wheel so the foot can be trimmed. It’s also at this stage that I would do any carving or add handles.
When complete, the work is allowed to dry fully (“bone dry”) before it’s loaded into my kiln and fired for the first time to a “low” temperature (about 1800 degrees) also known as the “bisque” firing. This is necessary so the pots won’t break or lose their shape during the glazing process.
Glazes are essentially a mixture of glass formers, clay fillers, colorants and water. When fired, they provide a finish for the pot, giving it color and texture and making it usable as a vessel.
I mix my own glazes, which allows me to experiment and come up with just the colors I want to complement each other and create a cohesive line.
The glaze process for Zyra-ware takes a couple of days. Glaze in liquid form is poured into the bisqued pot and dumped out again, leaving a thin coating on the inside. The pot then needs to dry overnight before I can continue.
The outside of the pot is dipped into three different glazes, starting with the bottom or “main” color, then the ochre yellow and finally the top section which essentially acts like an overflow from the inside.
After clean up, I load them into the kiln for the final firing, this time to about 2000 degrees. When the layers melt together in the kiln the overlap gives the pieces their interesting, landscaped effect.
Once cooled, my mugs, bowls and plates are ready for your table.
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