If you’ve lived anywhere on earth at any time in history, you’re familiar with pottery. People have been making things out of mud since time immemorial. I’ll spare you the ceramics history lesson. Suffice it to say there are myriad ways to coax clay into shapes. The very first is likely just pushing mud around with your fingers until you get something resembling a thing you need. Basically that’s what I do… only different.
I don’t use a potter’s wheel to “throw” pots — you’ve seen the movie Ghost, right? Not my jam… in a lot of ways, but I digress. Everything I make is “hand built” using slabs of clay. I use a large slab roller to flatten the clay into these slabs—think of a super thick sheet of paper—then use templates to cut the component shapes for each item from the clay. Those are allowed to just hang out a while until the clay is the right consistency. Once that magical moment is reached, I use all kinds of stamps, tools, found objects, bits and bobs of whatnot to make impressions in the clay finishing it off with my signature snarky sayings. My grandma would be so proud.
Finally from those flat pieces, I assemble the mug, cup, bowl, plate, what-have-you into its useful shape. DONE! Nope…
After the built pieces are all nice and dry they are put into a kiln for the initial firing called a “bisque.” From the bisque fire I stain each piece with underglaze to bring out the details of the impressions so you can read that sumbitch. Colored glaze coats the inside, gunmetal glaze is brushed on the foot and rim then it’s back into the kiln to a toasty 2232º for the final glaze fire. Once fired, the bare clay exterior is sanded smooth as a baby’s butt, and I can finally have a drink.
Whew… after all that you might need a drink, too.