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Most people don't know what the difference between ceramics and pottery.
GlazesGlazes are painted onto to greenware that, after kiln firing, they seal and color their surface.
There are many compounds used to make glazes, such as silicates, aluminates, oxides, tin, sodium, potassium, lead, iron, copper and many more.
The recipes made from such compounds usually take into consideration what the utensils intended use is, matching thermal expansion properties between the clay and the glaze ingredients for longer useful life and color.
A bunch of factors, both natural and controllable ones, can alter a glaze suitability and behavior.
Unglazed SpotsUnglazed spots are common to all ceramics and pottery and are found in areas that do not affect the usability of the pottery.
The foot of a pot or bowl is the area that rests on the surface or shelf of the kiln and is normally unglazed, because otherwise the glaze would bond to the kiln shelf during the firing process.
CrazingCrazes are small cracks in the glazing of pottery and ceramics.
They are caused by many things, such as a different thermal expansion rate between the glaze and the clay, glaze ingredients, too fast of a cooling rate and the firing process.
Whenever possible, crazed pottery and ceramics should be generally avoided for food contact, as the cracks can harbor colonies of bacteria, but using a bit of chlorine bleach or lemon to clean the cracks will help to rid the piece of bacteria.
SpecksUsually found on stoneware and ceramic earthenware pottery, dark specks in the glaze can be iron or other minerals that are permanent parts of the clay.
This is normal and will not usually affect the usability or longevity of the pottery.
Use And CareCaring for pottery and ceramics is easy.
The glazes that cover the clay, protect it from discoloration.
Glazes that are approved for use with food do not react with acidic foods and can be used to store any food safely.
Earthenware pottery and ceramics can easily take the temperature and harsh detergents of a dishwasher and it is recommend washing all pieces by hand, especially to prevent accidental damage from other utensils beating against them in the dishwasher.
Health ConcernsThere are no known adverse health effects from using unglazed clay in cooking.
Glazed clay products produced and imported into the US and Canada are deemed safe through a series of tests that manufacturers and importers are required to submit to the government, proving the quantities of cadmium and lead to be within acceptable levels.
Beware of pottery and ceramic cooking or tableware products you bring in or purchase from other countries, it is better to use them as flower pots instead.
Lead In CeramicsLead can be found all around us in dishes, fine crystal, painted walls, woodwork, toys, furniture, antique varnishes, solder, dust and soil.
The effects of lead poisoning are cumulative throughout our lifetime, therefore it is important to limit our exposure to it.
In the pottery and ceramic industry, some lead glazes are still used to color, decorate or smooth the surface of pottery and ceramic products.
As long as the clay and glazes are compatible and these glazes are properly fired at a high enough temperature and for an appropriate amount of time, the lead is not likely to leach through the surface.
With constant use and scrubbing, pottery and ceramic products can wear down over time and may allow lead to leach through.
Hot and highly acidic foods and prolonged time of contact, will increase lead leaching from such damaged surfaces.
Antique, highly decorated pottery and ceramics are the most likely to leach lead.
You might be able to visually detect lead leaching if pottery and ceramic items show a dusty or chalky gray residue on the glaze after they are washed.
When testing for lead content, be sure to test the surface that comes in contact with the food.
Terra cotta refers to a type of earthenware that contains red burning clay.
Majolica is terra cotta with an opaque white glaze, usually decorated with a colored overglaze and is stronger than terra cotta.
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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery or ceramics and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.
Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.
The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.
With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.
When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.
Stash It, Smash It, Crush It,
Tye Dye It, Fly Tye It, Simplify It,
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