Day 238: Clayworks

The Awesome Mitten - Clayworks
Photo courtesy of Clayworks.
You don’t have to be an art lover to become totally smitten with Clayworks Pottery. From mugs to bowls, vases to sculptures, decorative to functional – Clayworks Pottery gallery and store, located in Grand Ledge, Michigan, has something for everyone.

Every piece they sell is an original art form made by 1 of the 40 members of this pottery cooperative, and fired in one of their many different kilns. Most commonly used is the electric kiln, which reaches temperatures of 2264 degrees f, and is the fastest way to fire clay. They also have a gas kiln, which takes slightly longer than electric, but because of something called a “reduction cycle”, where the ratio of gas and oxygen are controlled, an abundance of co2 is present which brings out distinctive qualities in the glaze.

The wood kiln, although the coolest firing process, is also the most demanding, requiring extensive labor in both preparation of the wood and firing of the kiln. The fire is stoked as much as every 3 minutes and goes on for 20-30 hours. Both the path of the fire and the drip of the ash, which becomes its own glaze dripping down onto the pottery, give it a rustic look you can not achieve using any of the other kilns. Because of the extensive labor, the wood kiln is only fired 2-3 times each year, so when it is,it is quite the event!

The Awesome Mitten - Clayworks
Photo courtesy of Clayworks.

Clayworks also offers classes to learn all sorts of different pottery techniques, including wheel throwing, hand building and glazing.

Whatever your interests – getting in touch with your inner artist, shopping, collecting, or just plain learning something new, Clayworks has it. Visit their website or call 517-626-1160 to learn more about their members, classes and store hours. ~Angela Voss, Feature Writer

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