THE NATURE OF CLAY
Small batch, authentic handmade pottery comes with its own story…
Sheramics uses Australian earthenware sourced locally from Somersby NSW. Besides the clean, white colour, this clay is selected because it is lightweight, robust and beautifully smooth making it ideal for hand-building pieces for every day use.
Creating Sheramics pieces is a time consuming process and involves a number of stages over a minimum 3 week period.
Each portion of clay is weighed then prepared by kneading it to remove air pockets.The basic form is created using only my hands. Slip moulds and machinery are not used in my studio. Texture is created at this stage by pressing found objects and materials in to the clay. The piece is left to dry to a leather hard state which takes approximately 2 days. However, this time varies depending on the weather, time of year and the environment in which the piece is left.
The piece is then trimmed with my Medicare card and kitchen knife to refine the body shape and ensure the ‘feel’ of the piece is balanced, pleasing to hold and a joy to look at. It is now that additions such as handles or embellishments are applied and my SG maker’s stamp is added. The piece is left to dry to a bone dry state. This takes between 5-10 days.
Any carving or inlay detail is done at the bone dry stage. The piece is fragile and easily broken at this stage.
The fragile piece is bisque fired in the kiln to 900c. The kiln is programmed to heat up and cool down gradually to avoid cracking the clay. The firing process takes approximately 8 hours though the kiln can not be opened until it is cool. My patience is tested at this point because the excitement to open the kiln can sometimes be too much.
Sheramics uses only lead-free glazes so are food safe. Layers of glaze are applied over the entire piece because fired earthenware, unlike stoneware, remains porous. Glaze seals the clay with a glass-like finish for durability. Each layer needs to dry for a few minutes before applying the next. The glazed piece is left to dry for 2 days.
Finally the piece is fired for a 2nd time at 1080c. This ensures the finished piece is food safe and durable for everyday use. Collections that have gold lustre go in for a third firing at 600c.
Now the story continues with you…
Enjoy Sheramics creations every day in your home. Thank you for supporting handmade.