Making pottery involves a number of steps.
The clay is cut off a 25 pound block with a wire cutter. The clay is then weighed for accuracy. It has to be the correct weight for the piece you plan to throw. For instance, it takes 4 pounds of clay to make a spoon jar. Clay comes in many colors; white, buff, red, brown and other varieties.
Once you have the right amount of clay, it must be kneaded or wedged. This process helps to remove air bubbles and to make the clay the right consistency.
The ball of clay is placed on the wheel. The clay is thrown by first centering, opening a hole in the center, then pulling upward to thin out the walls and shaping.
If the piece has a lid, a measurement is taken of the opening and a lid is thrown to fit.
The piece is set aside and covered with plastic. After sitting for several days the piece is “leather hard” or stiff enough to handle. The bottom and the lid are trimmed of the excess clay. Handles, knobs or other decorations are made and attached. The piece is covered again for several days or weeks. The plastic is removed and the piece is allowed to dry out.
The pottery piece is bisque fired to 1830 degrees Fahrenheit, which takes 20 hours. After cooling for 12 hours, the piece is removed from the kiln and glazed. Some glazed techniques call for the piece to be sprayed or waxed and re-sprayed or re-glazed. The piece is then glazed fired to 2232 degrees Fahrenheit. The firing process turns the clay into glass. The whole process can take up to 4-6 weeks.