Porcelain is the most expensive of clays and the trickiest to work with. It has to be fired to a very high temperature to give it it’s fine translucent finish, and It takes many years of practice and a great deal of patience and resilience to be able throw the vision of loveliness thats in your head.
The pot starts as a lump of well wedged (kneaded to remove any air bubbles)
fine porcelain on my potters wheel. I then throw the desired shape (trickier than it sounds) and when satisfied with the shape, size, and fineness the ‘would be cup, mug, pot etc’ is set aside to become leather hard. Depending on the weather and size of pot, this can be between 1/2 a day and 4 days or so.
Whilst the piece is drying, I hand pull the handles and any other additionsand allow them to stiffen enough to be able to hold their shape whilst attaching them to the piece.
Once the piece is stiff enough, it goes back on the wheel to be turned (refining the shape) and then any additions are added. The completed piece is then set aside to dry out completely for up to 4 weeks.
Once dry the piece is very, very, fragile but this is also the best stage to decorate it. First I sketch onto the mug using ceramic pencil, then I paint it with ceramic underglaze colours, then it’s ready to go into the kiln for the bisque firing to 1000*C.
After cooling and sanding to further smooth the surface, the cup is glazed, then fired to its top temp of 1240*C which vitrifies (makes it suitable to hold liquids without absorbing any moisture.)
The finished piece is then microwave & dishwasher safe, although hand washing is preferable.