Post 49 Another Day Another Pot

I've had some time on my hands recently and have used it to punch out a few pots. I'm not yet attempting to make more than one a day; after all I'm not looking for another full time job! Where does the time go. I'm getting quicker but there's no compromise on quality.

The routine for mould made pots takes up to an hour to prep the clay and get it in the mould with the inside surface completed. I like to finish the inside surface so that it is smooth, blemish free and nicely curved. That done then there is work done to make the feet. I make these separately and attach later. This gives flexibility to modify the design and use different geometry. I did find also early on that with the feet integrated into the mould it was difficult to get a good result.

It takes about 6 hours before the pot is released by the mould and ready for post mould alteration or shaping. In the mean time there are other things to be done with other drying pots which has turned my mind to the 'production system' or the 'pipeline'. More on that later.

Post mould shaping, conditioning and feet attachment takes up to another hour and then it is set aside to dry for up to three weeks. Half way through that time when the clay is leather hard it is a final opportunity to correct anything that needs it. Sometime I use a small wood plane to make more than cosmetic adjustments to the style. It's a good time to do these things when the clay is more timber like in texture and less sensitive to contact damage. Finally when bone dry is when the preparation for bisque firing is done. This may involve a little sanding or scraping to get flat surfaces flat, curves without flat spots and radiused edges where they may be needed, like on the rim. At this point it demands some care in handling. So overall preconditioning for bisque firing takes perhaps another hour.

After bisque firing the pot can still be sanded reasonably easily and is a good time to make sure all four feet touch the ground. There is generally almost no movement in the clay during bisque firing. And then it is a matter of mix the glaze, wash the pot, mask surfaces to remain unglazed and apply the glaze. There goes another hour.

That's about 4 hours direct hands on the pot, not to mention working on basic common infrastructure, materials, kiln loading / unloading, housekeeping etc etc. The reason I've been thinking more about this is to work out the size of the pipeline. Now if I want to make 100 pots a year, two or three a week, that's going to take a little time each week. Then what about space. If they need to dry for three weeks, then to make 100 a year, means I will always have 6 or 7 or 8 pots drying, and the same number bisqued waiting to glaze.

With that thought and drying pots sitting on all sorts of horisontal surfaces, I set about for a tidy up and shelf build. The kids stuff in boxes got moved to the departure lounge (I hope) - ie the shed out the back.
The shelves -nothing fancy but just something adequate. Here you can see the result of my work, and 6 drying bagged pots, not to mention a couple of moulds. That esky is next in my sights!

The other shelf has a sliding door drying cupboard, storage space for bisqued and finished pots, glaze materials, scales etc etc. I don't know why my wife suggests I'm taking over the garage.

So yes where was I; more pots. Last one made yesterday was No 37 and last one glazed and posted here was No 26. The pipeline is full and there will be a few pots for sale soon.