Can I put my pottery in the microwave and dishwasher?
You sure can. Although many of our customers prefer to handwash their handmade pieces, you are more than welcome to put your functional pieces in the dishwasher. Microwave is safe as well! We recommend the top rack for longevity of the glaze. You can also use them in the oven (not the broiler), microwave and freezer.
The main thing to remember is that you want even heating/cooling on the piece, and for it to not experience extreme temperature changes (like from fridge to oven).
Will pottery break in the oven?
No, as long as you are careful. A big concern for those who use pieces in the oven should be thermal shock, which is the stress placed on pottery when it expeirences rapid temperature shifts.
Though the temperature shift that will cause shock varies depending on what clay has been used, there are a few loose guidelines to follow regardless. 1.) Never (ever) take a handmade ceramic piece from the freezer/fridge into the oven/microwave. The change in temp from 40 to 250+ degrees is too much and you’ll risk cracking. For example, when unloading the kiln, we wait for it to cool to at least 150 degrees before removing work. 2.) Only use in an even heating environment. This means no stove tops (heat from the bottom) or long stays in a broiler (heat from the top). Microwave, dishwasher and oven are okay! 3.) Try to warm up the piece near the stove while it heats up. This isn’t a must, but it will help the dish adapt before taking the plunge.
How do we as makers fight it? For starters, we recommend only using pottery that is designed to go in the oven in the oven. When we throw pie/baking dishes, we create a thick and even bottom, with the sides being roughly the same thickness as well. This not only means your food will cook evenly, but that they piece itself is heated evenly. Other items, such as plates and platters, are made of the same material BUT usually have a trimmed bottom (meaning thicker in some spots than others). This means that the heat will affect the thinner parts of the plate differently than the thicker areas and may break. In theory, every piece can go in the oven/microwave. However, some are a much greater risk, since they are not designed to do so.
Can you fix a broken piece of pottery?
With pottery, once it's broken it is broken. There are some advanced techniques from other cultures that use metal to 'glue' the pieces back together, but we are not equipped to do this. Chips and dings can be repaired to a certain extent, but it is a much more lengthy and expensive process than what we can offer in our studio
What is pottery made of? Is it ceramic or pottery?
Seems the same? Well, for most applications these words can be used interchangeably. But there are subtle differences to us, and so we’ll share our thoughts on them. ‘Ceramic’ tends to be used when describing high end, gallery grade art. It also can be used to describe sculptures, mass produced items and non-functional work. ‘Pottery’ is used when talking about everyday clay items, such as mugs and bowls. It’s a more accessible word than ‘ceramic’ for us, so that’s why we named our business the way we did. And we also only use ‘pottery’ in reference to handmade clay objects, even though to my knowledge that isn’t a widespread idea. The paint-your-own-pottery studios disagree with us, but I just can’t hold a mass produced mug and call it pottery!
Regardless of what you call it, both pottery and ceramic items are made out of clay. There are many different types of clay (earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, synthetic, etc), but it is all clay.
How does glaze work? Is it food safe?
Glaze is a dry mix solution of chemicals mixed with water to create a top coat for pottery. Glazes are made of 3 basic types of ingredients: a glass maker, a stabilizer, and a flux.
Different chemicals put together make different glazes. Oh how we wish that it was as easy as paint! But when it boils down to is, glazes are chemical mixtures that are used to create a coating on top of clay. This is why we cannot just quickly mix together a glaze to match your grandmother’s favorite dining set from 40 years ago - the pigments you see are chemical reactions. Glaze testing is intense, and some glazes are incredibly toxic. Always test a piece that you think might be toxic or from unknown origins! All of ours have been certified food safe, so feel free to use in excess.
Why are your pottery classes for ages 16+?
There are actually a lot of reasons for this, but we will explain the two main reasons: safety and attention span. Our studio is very much a production grade facility - this means that it is not child friendly. We house machines such as slab roller and kilns that can quickly injure a roaming hand. The wheels themselves are a powerful piece of machinery, one without safety guards. Between our machinery, tools and uneven flooring, we have deemed it unsafe to have children in our studio for long periods of time. We have also found that children tend to lack the concentration and coordination needed to navigate our classes. Throwing on the wheel looks much easier than it is, many adults will struggle to have the strength and coordination to attempt it.