My Process

Each Melissa Michael ClayArt piece is made by hand and takes hours of time from start to completion. 

 

I alternate between the use of wheel-throwing and hand-building to initially create the base form,  then trim the bottoms to perfect the shape and weight of the piece, make handles if it's a cup or pitcher, smooth out uneven spots or connection points, and decorate with sculptural elements or with slips and underglazes. 

 

All of my work takes two trips through the kiln: The bisque fire which reaches a temperature of 1945°F, and only partially matures the clay, but makes it ready to accept glaze. The glaze fire which reaches a temperature of 2167°F, vitrifies the clay body and transforms the glaze material into a layer of glass which allows it to be used for food and drink.