The Process of Pottery
These are the stages of ceramics from beginning to end!
1. RAW CLAY STAGE, which you throw, form, pinch, or mold into your work of art. Also known as the “plastic” stage.
2. LEATHER HARD STAGE: When your clay dries (but not all the way) it is leather hard. At this stage you can apply handles, carve it, apply underglazes, etc.
3. BONE DRY STAGE: Once your clay has dried completely it is bone dry. No more work can be done to it at this stage without compromising the integrity of your piece. Bone dry clay will usually be 4-5% smaller than when you finished.
4. BISQUED STAGE: Your work will be put through its first firing to make it into bisqueware (which is when it officially becomes ceramic). Bisqueware is the stage when it is porous and will accept glaze application. It is still semi-brittle after a bisque firing, but much stronger than bone dry.
5. STONEWARE STAGE: Once you have glazed your work and put it through a second (much higher temperature) firing, it becomes stoneware (literally petrifying it) and the process is finished. Stoneware will usually between 10-13% smaller than when you started with wet clay.