Forming Pottery

When the clay has been treated thoroughly, our potters will spin, or 'turn the clay', on a wooden wheel that is powered by a small motor. From a large lump of humble clay all manner of wonderful, elegant shapes will emerge from the hands of these master craftspeople. Our excellent potters can articulate a huge array of shapes at a very high rate - the type of prowess that takes not a single lifetime, but many generations to establish. 

We stay loosely within the broad library of traditional Portuguese pot shapes, to which we occasionally add a new idea, but for the most part the shapes that we use are those handed down and honed through many, many generations of Portuguese craftspeople.

A handthrown jug in Lily Flower

Where appropriate certain articles are created using various mould techniques, such as a ‘jig’, a ‘press’, or a plaster molds. The jig and press are especially apt tools to create pieces that need to have regularity, such as dinner plates. Whereas any item that is rectangular or square cannot be thrown on a wheel (the centrifugal nature of the wheel makes non-round shapes impossible), and in this case a mould is most often employed.

The formed pots will be air dried slowly, and some items will be joined, cut or fretted by hand, before the biscuit firing. This initial firing is completed to a low temperature, ensuring that the clay retains a lot of its absorbency this will allow it to retain the porosity needed to accept the glaze in the next crucial step. The consequence is that the pottery is very fragile at this moment, hence the term ‘biscuit ware’ is applied to the pottery at this stage - it is brittle and fragile.