The majority of my pieces are slip cast from my own vintage molds. These molds are made of plaster and the slip is poured into each and after a length of time that involves lots of experience and intuition, the mold is opened to reveal the piece, now called green ware.
Molds can only produce so many pieces. Each time the mold is used the details wear down a tiny bit, over the time the details dull and eventually the mold is no longer usable. This makes pieces from vintage molds all the more special.
Examples of green ware. At this stage each piece must be "cleaned" - all the seams and rough edges must be smoothed. Greenware is very fragile, it's just dried mud. Now I can also alter the piece to my needs. Once the piece is cleaned and completely dry it's fired to nearly 2000 degrees for 7.5 hours.
The sample pieces after the greenware fire, now in bisque form. This is were the fun begins!
Each piece has four coats of color glaze. Each coat of glaze must dry completely before the next is coat is applied. Glazes in their liquid state are not the same color as when they are fired, so I must trust what I think the glaze will be, not what I see. Many of the glazes I use are my own formula, this allows me to get the colors I like. All are lead free and food safe.
All flowers and leaves are made by hand as well, and must go through the same greenware to bisque firing. They then are attached to the painted piece .
Each piece is signed and numbered.
When I have completed all the painting and the piece is totally dry, two coats of over glaze are applied. I always brush on the over glaze, I never dip. This makes sure all the delicate flowers and leaves are in place and covered properly. It takes longer, but I have much more control. The over glaze actually fuses the flowers and leaves to the piece in the final firing. This final firing is again to nearly 2000 degrees for another 7 hours.
The picture above shows the same teapot after it has been painted with glaze with all the flowers and leaves attached, and finished piece after the final firing.
This is the best part! After cooling for 7 to 10 hours, depending on the weather, I get to open the kiln and take a peek! Each time I open the kiln it's like Christmas morning because I am never real sure of what I am going to get. This is when I find out if flowers have slipped or if the colors are off. Glazes are tricky and sometimes they fail, and you just never know why.
After all the pieces are cooled they are logged and photographed. I then upload them to my store where you can shop and enjoy!
Reginald and Marcellete - Reggie & Marcie to their friends. They supervise all projects and make sure they are always watching over me.