Some friends ask.."How long did it take you to make that?".... I want to respond with.." It took me a lifetime.", but instead I proceed to educate.
Most buyers of pottery have no idea that pottery only begins on the wheel or slab.
So, I proceed to explain the process:
1) First you make the form, then, allow it dry to leather hard, then, carve or trim or attach parts or paint underglaze designs...
2) Now the pot must dry.....for some pieces this can take weeks.
3) Most potters bisque fire ( the first firing that drives the water out of the clay body ) and the kiln needs to be FULL....that is why you can't order a piece and get it next week.....my kiln holds 50 to 100 pieces.
4) Once the bisque is complete, it is time to glaze....this too can take one to two days. I like to sand any rough edges and "wash" my pots with a sponge before glazing ( an additional days work ). If you make your own glazes, they need to be mixed or remixed and screened through a mesh. Sometimes underglazes are used too...more mixing and brush design.
Most potters use two to four glazes on a single pot.
5) Now it is time to load the kiln and fire....this is an all day process.
6) Then, the kiln must cool down for 24 hours before it is unloaded.
7) There is always something unexpected... a crack, a bubbled glaze, a runny glaze ( can ruin the kiln shelf ), ...OR an absolutely beautiful pot!
This wonderful art form is more time consuming than most expect....we make it look easy....it's time to explain the process!