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my process

photo by: Colton Zobel

EVERYTHING STARTS HERE, 
IN MY LITTLE HOME STUDIO

ceramics is a long, multi-step process. but because of that, there is so much loving energy that goes into each piece. they involve hours and hours of hands-on work, and two separate firings. most of my pieces are wheel-thrown, and start on this wheel, but, every piece begins its long journey as just a lump of clay.

WEDGE & THROW

I wedge each of those lumps individually before throwing them on the wheel. after it's thrown, the piece must dry for a few days & firm up before it can be trimmed.
photo by: Colton Zobel
photo by: Colton Zobel

TRIM

I trim the bottom of each piece to create a foot and ensure even thickness in the walls.

HANDLE

after the piece is trimmed, it gets a handle (if applicable) and dries covered in plastic for another few days. then, once the piece is leather hard, I apply the underglaze and/or hand-carved designs.
photo by: Colton Zobel
photo by: Colton Zobel

underglaze 

each piece gets three coats of underglaze brushed onto the bottom half of the mug. the method I use to decorate the surfaces of my pieces is called sgrafitto, which is a process that involves applying a layer of color (in my case, underglaze) to the clay and then scratching through that layer to produce a contrasting image by revealing the clay underneath.

carve

each of my pieces is carved uniquely by hand, which is one of my favorite steps. carving is a very meditative process for me - I find it really relaxing and it allows me to live in the present moment, and to go inward. the subject matter of my carvings is also hugely influenced by my connection to and exploration of nature - so if you hang around, you'll notice a lot of the places I fall in love with end up on pots.
photo by: Colton Zobel

bisque

once the carvings are done, the pieces sit out to dry again. the time for this varies on the weather/climate because the clay has to be completely bone dry (free of moisture) before it goes into the kiln for a bisque firing, but it usually takes a few days.

glaze

after the bisque firing, comes the glazing. I brush the glazes on by hand and each color is applied in three layers, which usually works out to about six layers per mug.
photo by: Colton Zobel
photo by: Colton Zobel

fire

and then, finally, they go into the glaze firing, where the kiln is fired to Cone 5, or 2167 degrees, and after that, it’s done!

return to the wild

and last but not least, one of my favorite parts of having finished pieces is getting to take them out into the wild and photograph them in/around the places that inspired them.

 AS YOU CAN SEE, IT’S A VERY LONG, IN-DEPTH PROCESS. 
BUT, I LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT. SO, MORE OFTEN 
THAN NOT, YOU’LL FIND ME COVERED IN MUD. 

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