The Pottery Process

After pots have been thrown, they are taken off the wheel and placed on a piece of wood to dry a little. Once they are leather hard, they can be fettled and they are also ready for handles to be applied.

Decoration by indentation, additive or sgraffito can also be applied while at the supple stage. Still at the "Green" stage, the pots can be decorated with slip of any colour or paints. Sgraffito can be applied after slip has been added. 

Also, a technique called terra sigillata can be used to get that authentic Graeco/Romano finish, a gloss or sheen. This lengthens out the whole process of making pottery but is very rewarding. All pottery items are then left to dry until safe to place in the kiln, for what we call a biscuit firing. After placing the pots in the kiln, we slowly raise the temperature of the kiln over several hours.

For more information on the Leach family of potters, go to Simon Leach & John Leach sites. They have an interesting range of functional stoneware. These are still going and you'll get a real sense of history.

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After the biscuit firing, pots can also have decor added to them either Under-glaze decor or Over-glaze decoration.  The glaze makes the pottery suitable for holding water and for being sanitized after use. However, some glazes contain lead and these cannot be used for dinner/kitchen ware. At Pittenweem Pottery, we do not use lead based glazes.

Below is an example of a pan cooling plate. It had 2 holes so you could hang it and if you placed a hot pot on the picture side, this enabled the pot to cool down without marking the table top surface. Turning this over on the undecorated side, it can be used to bake scones - very nice too.

 My interest in Roman pottery techniques came from my time with Fishley Holland Pottery. There, we were asked to copy Roman artefact's which we produced prolifically. I found this interesting and plan to bring that type of thing back to life here.  

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