How it's Made

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How it's Made

How it's Made, and some of the technical jargon...

Loch Long Stoneware:  Functional Tableware

The Loch Long Stoneware range is made by a process known as extrusion.Clay is forced through a wall-mounted device, producing long even sections shaped according to interchangeable die plates.  These sections are then cut down to specific sizes and assembled whilst still wet with handles, bases, spouts and so on.

Due to the hand made nature of these pieces and the reduction firing process, both glaze and body may alter in colour slightly depending on where they are positioned in the kiln.

The range is dishwasher safe.

The oatmeal glaze used is food safe.  Crackles within the glaze will appear after use with strong tea or coffee – this is a natural feature of this glaze and does not affect its porosity.

Stoneware: Glazed pottery that has been fired to temperatures in excess of 1200oC.  At this temperature, the clay body and the glaze fuse together to become vitrified and entirely non-porous.  It has essentially returned to a stone-like state.

Tom Butcher Ceramics: Sculptural Pieces

Tom’s range of ‘Convoluted Bowls’ is inspired by the intricate architecture of wasps nests. The forms are made by soaking 100% pure wool in liquid clay (wool has a much higher absorbency rate than any other fibre, so is ideally suited to Tom’s ‘convoluting’ process); the wool is then coiled round plaster moulds.  During firing, the wool burns away, leaving a honeycomb structure inside and the textural, linear qualities of the wool describing the surface of the form. Tom uses a variety of clay bodies to produce a number of textures and finishes, from the purity and delicate nature of bone china and porcelain, to the gritty coarseness of heavily grogged crank. With some, differing internal and external surface textures enhances the three-dimensional quality of the piece. Tom has experimented with the inherent colours of various clays, combined with a variety of stains, to produce a series of tonal monochromatic pieces.

Clay body: Clay comes in different forms, depending on different recipes, each with its own name (crank / t-material, porcelain, and so on).  The body forms the structure of the pot.

Convoluted: Adjective meaning having numerous overlapping coils or folds (for example a convoluted seashell).

Crank: Crank is a hand building clay body with course grog. 

Grog: The grog is pre-fired pottery that has been ground down to varying degrees with textures ranging from flour to granulated sugar.  This is added to clay body to give it structure, speed up the drying process and reduce shrinkage during drying.  The grog makes the pot more stable and therefore stronger.

The ‘Ovolo’ was originally derived from woven bamboo fish traps found in South East Asia,. The name comes loosely from the latin ovum, meaning egg.  Ovolos are cast in a plaster mould using a slip made up of a stoneware clay or porcelain.  Various glazes are used to highlight the dip.

Glaze: The decorative surface applied to bisque fired pots, before they are fired to full temperature.

The ‘Monolith’ form was initially inspired by the architecture of insects such as termites, as well as stalagmites and rock formations including The Storr on the island of Skye off the coast of Scotland.  The colours and decorative features are derived from lichens and mosses and the linear patterns found in rock strata and gneiss rock – a granite-like rock specific to the coast of Sutherland, Scotland. These pieces are hand coiled using a variety of stoneware clays and porcelain, hand polished or glazed, and reduction fired.  Each piece takes between two and five days to build and no two pieces are ever the same, although some are specifically made in sets of two or three.

Monolith: Noun meaning a single great stone (often in the form of a column or obelisk).

Reduction: Pots are fired in a kiln starved of oxygen.  Reduction firing produces different colours and visual effects because metallic oxides in the clay give up their oxygen and convert to their more metallic form.  Copper, for example, will fire green in an oxidised firing (with oxygen) and pink /red in a reduction firing. 

© Tom Butcher Ceramics 2017
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