I am always being asked “what’s your favorite thing at your shop?” and I honestly have too many to count. It’s like asking which pet is your favorite! You love them all! And I’m going to share some of my favorite things in later posts, but I have to tell you – right now I am SMITTEN with stoneware.
Stoneware is so pretty – it’s the “farm to table” look, the “traditional” pottery look. It’s when you slop and glop different glazes on a piece, and they come out AMAZING. It’s pottery that you can really use – it goes in the dishwasher and the microwave! So, what is stoneware and how is it different from what we’ve always had? Well, it’s a different clay body – what we have always carried is called earthenware. It’s low-fire, meaning we go up to about 1888*F to make the glaze shiny and the glaze is what makes it food safe. The clay itself isn’t – it is porous until it is glazed. Stoneware is a mid-range firing. It “only” goes up to 2232*F – which is pretty hot, I think, and at that temperature, the clay vitrifies which makes the clay body itself food safe. The glazes that we use on stoneware can be different from earthenware (more on that in a bit). Most importantly, we can’t fire earthenware at the temperature of stoneware or else everything will melt!
Stoneware is a limited line – it’s plates and mugs and other tableware pieces. We still have our amazing variety of earthenware pottery (and we still have our pottery glazes that look like stoneware, but can be used on earthenware). This is what you can use to make your own set of dishes and really use them every day. It isn’t a replacement for our other stuff, but it is different.
Because stoneware is fired at such a high temperature, the glazes move and run on vertical surfaces. This is a feature we LOVE, but it means you don’t get the precision painting that you get with the low-fire earthenware. It means that a handprint might not be the right thing to do with stoneware – but all the cool things far outweigh the few things it doesn’t do.
The colors available are very earth-toned and natural. You’ll see shades of sand and sea and sky and everything we love about the great outdoors. How you put them together is so fun to determine. We can show you colors that are sure-fire winners, and everyone who works here has a favorite combination.
Sunday night, we had a staff meeting to really get our hands into stoneware, and the results do not disappoint! The employees of DIYC have been thinking for weeks about what they wanted to paint on mugs and bowls and they loved getting into the glazes to play.
There are some basic colors that play well with each other – five that you can combine in so many ways and will always give wonderful results. Using these – Amber Quartz, Sea Salt, Copper Jade, Norse Blue and Galaxy – you have a proven palette that is fun to experiment with. We’ve got some others that play well together – Peacock, Shipwreck, Raspberry Mist, Stoned Denim – the names are as good as the colors, and you gotta see them to believe how wonderful they are.
Right now, we have about 36 glazes to pick from, with more coming all the time. My wish-list is long!
We can also use our regular pottery glazes on stoneware. Some work better than others, but we can show you how to make great selections. There’s this amazing thing that happens when you fire blues and greens over Sea Salt – it might be my favorite technique that I’ve done. So far, that is!
You never need an appointment to come to DIYC, and that’s true for stoneware pottery as well. Right now, we have a great selection of plates, bowls and mugs to pick from, and the staff here is ready to show you how it all works.