Emily Brown: The Art of Pottery

by | Feb 22, 2023


Making pottery is a multi-step process that consists of throwing, trimming, bisque firing, glazing, and glaze firing.  I begin by weighing out a piece of clay and wedging it to remove air bubbles and get the spiral process going.  I then center the ball of clay onto the pottery wheel and start “throwing” the piece which involves opening it and shaping it while it is spinning.  Once the piece is thrown, it must rest and dry until it is leather hard.   I then invert the piece and trim the excess clay from the bottom and shape the foot.  The piece then dries some more until it is no longer cold to the touch, and then it gets loaded into the kiln and fired the first time up to about 1800 °. This bisque firing process causes permanent physical and chemical changes to the clay. Moisture is removed from the clay, and organic materials in it are burned out. The process also allows the clay particles to bond and transforms it from greenware to a more durable state called ceramic.  In this state, the piece is now ready to glaze.  I apply glaze by dipping the piece in the glaze, pouring the glaze over, or spraying the glaze onto the piece.  It then gets loaded back into the kiln and undergoes its second firing, the glaze firing, up to around 2345°.  The glaze firing cycle takes about 24 hours.  After unloading it from the kiln, it gets sanded and polished as necessary.  The pot is now complete.


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