We are back with our Meet the Maker series. There are many creative and talented artists in Puyallup and we have partnered with a few of them to carry their work in our store. This blog post is written by Kazumi Divens-Cogez of NendoStudio Pottery . She creates beautifully unique and food safe pottery that makes great gifts or pieces for your own home. Here’s a look into the long yet rewarding process of creating something out of a big chunk of clay.
Working with clay to create a pot, for example, a bowl, is a long process. The chunk of clay is wedged (kneading) to get the air pockets removed and the clay to become pliable. It is then thrown on the wheel in the shape of a bowl. Centering the clay on the wheel requires a lot of practice!
After the bowl like chunk of clay is dried for a couple of days and dry enough to handle, it is back on the wheel to be trimmed, to remove excess clay and shape it into a bowl. More drying and then to the kiln (oven) to be bisqued which removes water in the clay. After it is cooled completely, it’s time to glaze.
After glazing, the bowl is fired in another kiln at much higher temperature to Cone 10 (my preference) at around 2000 degrees F for about 8 hours. When the kiln is cooled which can take another 8 hours or so, it’s Kiln Opening! This is the very exciting moment of this process, like Christmas! The “gift” could be just what you wanted or MORE than what you expected or sometimes, a complete disappointment. The variables that affects the outcome are many, such as how the kiln was fired to the placement of the pot in the kiln or the inconsistency of the glaze to name a few.
This is a very simplified description of how a chunk of clay becomes a bowl on the wheel! The whole process can take anywhere from 7-10 days and I will share more details in future blog posts. I love the feel of wet clay, realizing the vision of what I want to make, and the unhurried process the clay demands. I have been working with clay for about 20 years, but there is so much more to learn! I continue to enjoy making pots that are functional and safe to be used with food.