Potters Brown 903-852-6473 8287 FM 279 Edom, Tx. 75754
Beth & Doug Brown Potters Brown 903-852-6473 8287 FM 279 Edom, Tx. 75754
MAKING THE CLAY
We make our own clay and glazes. Nothing commercial is used in the process. Doug has developed our high-fired stoneware clay body over years of trial and error, and yes, it is a constant learning process. Because we fire so hot, a durable clay body is essential, consisting of a mixture of 3 clays, and a total of 7 ingredients for the final mix. All clays are blended in a Soldner mixer with a final mix in the pug mill. Clay is usually made about 4 times yearly, hopefully when it is neither too hot or cold in the clay room.
MAKING A POT
Making pots are done in several ways. We use potters wheels, an electric slab roller, which Doug made for the studio, and a few extrusions to create all of the pieces. We use no jiggers, ram presses, or slip casting. All pieces are hand-thrown, and slab-built, turning and draping the clay.
After the greenware has dried, it is fired to 1850 degrees in a bisque fire to prepare for glazing. This can be done in a gas or electric kiln.
The glazing process starts with hot wax. Each piece is dipped in a base glaze, dried overnight, and painted the next day with layering and wax resist to create the designs. Hot wax is painted on to allow the underglaze to shine through when the wax melts off during firing. Doug makes all of the glazes, preferring not to use anything commercial, and is constantly testing and developing the colors which are used. It takes at least 1 year to perfect a glaze and many take a lifetime. Glazes are tested every time the kiln is fired. As is with all stages of the work, just when you think you have it figured out, the clay gods say, “not so fast mister”. Everything that goes into the work comes from the earth, talk about organic, which makes things unpredictable at best. Glazes are composed of a combination of clay, silica, feldspars, minerals, and oxides to create the color. When applied, there is not much color, but the magic happens in the fire.
The shelving in the kiln is built from the bottom up each time the kiln is fired, with spacing depending on the size of the pots to be fired. The glaze fire must be done with natural gas, usually taking between 15-20 hours. At around 1800 degrees, the atmosphere is manipulated to cause heavy reduction, where the oxygen is reduced so that a rich gas atmosphere is created causing the development of color. This is held for 1 hour and partially throughout the fire. The end temperature reaches 2350 degrees. After cooling for 36 hours it is ready to open, and each piece is sanded, cleaned and priced.