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Workshop Tour

Throwing
This is highly skilled work. It requires up to seven years of concentrated training and experience to be able to make our full range.

Throwing is the free hand process of making the pot on the potters wheel. The time it takes varies from pot to pot depending on the size or complexity of the item being made and the experience and skill of the maker.

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Kiln

Bisque Kiln

When the pots are ready for firing they are loaded into the kiln, taking care not to place the pots too close to the flame and that there is enough room for the heat to circulate evenly through the kiln.

The kiln has a setting area of 350 cu.ft. and is fired up to 1000ºC by two Tempest high-speed gas burners. It is fired three times a fortnight.

It takes 12 – 18 hours to fire to 1000°C depending on how much drying time is given at the beginning. It is blown down some of the way with the fan. It usually takes twenty-four hours to cool.

When the bisque firing is complete, the kiln is emptied and each piece is glazed. We use a combination of techniques to glaze our pots – from dipping, spraying to hand decoration.

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Glaze Kiln

Our Glaze kiln is then packed, taking care that each pot is not touching as this will cause them to fuse together during the Glaze firing which reaches a temperature of 1300°C.

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Sculptural Work

The Druids

  1.  The clay is de-aired and homogenised.
  2. The clay body is then flattened before being pressed by hand to form concave shapes about 120×60 cm which are joined together using a clay slip.
  3.  It is then left to dry until it is leather hard at which point the shape is impressed with a pattern and the joints refined.
  4. When it has dried enough to support the weight a head, shoulders and heavy base are added.
  5. The mask is made separately and attached to the head with the help of a clay slip.
  6. These pots take up to a month to make, because the bigger the piece of ceramic the greater the drying and firing strains.  They must be dried and fired very slowly and thoroughly to avoid exploding in the bisque kiln or cracking under the glaze firing.
  7. The difficulty in matching glaze and clay expansion/contraction rates rises exponentially in line with the size of the piece.

The Masks

  1. A piece of clay is rolled into a rough shape. It is then cut to refine that outline.
  2. Mouth eyes, eyebrows and nose are cut and added to the flat shape where they are moulded into the desired shape.
  3. The full mask is then curved and cheekbones and forehead pressed/massaged gently from the rear until they attain the finished form
  4. The mask is dried very slowly to avoid cracking and distortion.

The Cockerels

  1. The clay is flattened then formed into a body shape.
  2. The head tail and cockscomb, eyes, wattle and jowls are added when the clay has hardened sufficiently to take their weight.

The Seabirds

  1. The bodies are shaped by hand
  2. Wings are cut out using a stiff cardboard pattern, pressed to shape and then added to the body.

The Fish

  1. The clay is formed into a rough shape then cut, added to and scored to fish shape.

Mirrors, Clocks

  1. The clay is rolled into a slab.
  2.  Then it is cut, impressed, incised or has additional pieces added on, using clay slip to attach them.

Naomhógs, Boats.

  1. The clay is rolled flat then cut to shape, bent and slowly coaxed to the required shape. Sometimes the edges are serrated.

All our pottery is fired to 1000*C and after that glazed and decorated and fired again, this time to 13000*.

 

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Jigger & Jolly
This is the latest addition to our making process. It is used for part of our tableware.

It has released our throwers from the repetitious tasks to enable them concentrate on the more fulfilling items in our range.

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Casting
Casting was added to our making process a number of years ago, this process helps to maintain consistency in the shapes and sizes of each piece

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Stores / Pottery Tour
When the Glaze kiln is emptied, each piece is carefully examined for any flaws or blemishes, it is then sanded to remove any hard surfaces underneath, recorded and placed on our shelves – ready for our retail outlets!
All of our lamps, mirrors and clocks are also fitted and prepared in our Stores area.

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