Pottery FAQ

How long did it take you to learn about ceramics and throwing on the wheel?
It’s a continual learning process. With each piece, you create you learn something new about the properties of clay, how far you can push it, and, as well, about your own creativity.

Where do you get your clay?
The clay that WheatonArts uses is mined out of Pittsburgh, PA. This clay is hi-fire stoneware.

How long does it take to make a piece?
From start to finish it takes 3 weeks. The piece begins on the wheel where it takes its form and after trimming it must dry completely. This takes anywhere from a week to ten days depending on the size/thickness of the piece and the temperature/humidity outside. The piece is bisque fired and then the glaze/surface decoration is applied. The final firing happens in either our salt-kiln, gas hi-fire kiln, or wood kiln.

How long is a firing and what temperature do you fire to?
Depending on which kiln is used a firing can take anywhere from eight to twenty hours. Bisque firings are complete at 1800º and stoneware firings are complete at 2400º.

How are the colors made for the glazes and do you mix your own?
All colors for both clay and glass come from metal oxides. In clay, these oxides can be mixed with water so that they may be applied with brushes. Here at WheatonArts, the Pottery Studio mixes all of their own glazes.

Are these pieces functional for food and beverages?
Yes, all functional pieces made here at WheatonArts are lead-free, food-safe, and microwavable.

Can you earn a living making ceramic ware?
Absolutely, there is a market for hand-made pottery. The Gallery of Fine Craft here at WheatonArts features the work of many of our resident ceramic artists. It’s possible to also market and sell the work wholesale and through craft shows.

What is your favorite thing to make?
Each artist has their own favorite. Senior potter Terry Plasket answers that he enjoys making coffee mugs the most. For Plasket, there is an enjoyment inherent in owning/using a piece of handmade pottery.