How is Pottery Made?

Stage 1: Bag of Clay

  • The First stage of making pottery is getting the bags of clay.
  •  Above we have red, speckled and white clay. These are the clays used by Stories N’ Stoneware most often.
  • Next up is to  make something out of it, known as the Greenware stage

Stage 2 : Greenware

  • Pottery can be made several different ways, We most commonly use the pottery wheel
  • Once the piece has been created or thrown  it is left to dry until it becomes harder, this is called leather hard.
  • Then the piece is trimmed and in the case of mugs a handle is pulled and added, like the video below
  • And this is also the stage that underglazes are added if needed.
  • Afterwards it is left to dry for a few days more to let all the water evaporate and is called bone dry
  • This is when it is ready for the next stage, the bisque kiln fire

Stage 3: Bisqueware

  • After getting bone dry the pieces are put in the first kiln fire, called the bisque fire
  • The Bisque is fired to  Cone 04 or around 1970 degrees Fahrenheit ( this can take several days to get to temp and to cool down)
  • Once cool enough to remove for the kiln it is called bisqueware
  • Bisqueware is now ready to be glazed.

Stage 4: Glazeware

  • Once the pieces are glazed, they are put in the kiln for the final glaze fire.
  • The kiln is fired to cone 5 or 6, depending on the clay and glazes around 2130- 2200 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Then after the pieces are removed and tested, they are ready for use!

Additional Stages/ Firings?

Horse Hair Raku
Luster Fire
Raku Reduction Fire
  • There are alternative  firings and addition firings of pieces as well
  • Raku Horse hair pieces are bisque fired first and then heated in a kiln to cone 06-05  and then pulled while still hot to apply the horse hair (not food safe)
  • Raku Reduction fire pieces are bisque fired and then heated in a kiln to cone 06-05 and then pulled while still hot and put in a metal can with sawdust and other combustibles until cool (not food safe) 
  • Luster fire is an additional kiln fire after the glaze fire. This includes silver, white gold, gold and mother of pearl luster. Luster is added to a glazeware piece and then fired to cone 020-018  and then are done when cool (luster are not dishwasher or microwave safe)

By Annie Gietz