The Clay Shack!

Welcome to our Clay Shack!

What a blessing this little metal building has been. Almost all the materials and furnishing are used, reclaimed, or bargains that only the Good Father could have provided.

Moses and I have had so much fun growing Muddy Moses and Mom since we first started in 2011… way back when Moses was 5 years old.

 I love the fact that clay can become anything you want it to be. I am reminded of the verse in Isaiah 64:8 “We are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

So here again, it is nice to know the end purpose of the piece you are making so that you can make it out of the right clay and handle it the correct way. The clay we use is a beautiful grey stoneware clay with freckles. It is a very hard, durable clay and able to with stand life as a soap dish or spoon rest. It is nontoxic, food safe, microwavable and it is dishwasher safe.

To make a clay leaf!!

To make our real leaves into stoneware imprinted dishes we start out with a lump of moist clay. The pliable clay is rolled flat in-between two pieces of muslin fabric on our slab roller. Once flat, we press the real leaf into the flattened clay. With a needle tool we trace around the leaf to form a “one of a kind” cut out. It is then shaped, molded, and allowed to dry in a special form which gives it a nice shape.

Wiping down!

Once the clay leaf is dry the boys and I spend quite a bit of time wiping down the dishes to make them smooth and getting them ready for their first firing in the kiln.

First firing!

The first firing of the clay leaf is important. It burns away the original leaf at some point during the firing that reaches 1888- 1911 degrees. After this firing the leaf is a bisque piece of clay. Which means all the water is gone but it has not reached maturity yet. It is hard, porous, and thirsty for glaze. The bottoms of the leaves are waxed to resist the glaze. This is important so that the leaf does not stick to the bottom of the kiln.

Glazing!

 

Each leaf is dipped into one of our custom made non-toxic glazes which is a concoction of minerals suspended in water creating a slurry that coats the thirsty leaf.

Final Firing!

The dipped leaves are returned to the kiln for their final firing. This firing reached 2167-2205 degrees. Which is hot enough to melt the slurry mixture and transform it into a beautiful glassy finish which covers the leaf imprint with its own protective waterproof coating. This firing really transforms the clay into a “One of a kind” stone ware treasure.

Next Week:

Opening the Kiln… They are ready!