Leaman Pottery is a Cottage Industry run out of the studio located at the Leaman Family residence. The pottery was officially started in 1998, however Jim and Lucinda had been making ware since the early ’90’s for craft sales and gifts. Due to the popularity of their work they decided to concentrate on building inventory in 1997 and offering their items through Gallery’s and shops the following year. Lucinda’s interest in pottery goes back to the early 80’s. She creates the pieces on the potter’s wheel and does all of the glazing and decoration. The design work for the Blue Chile ware is also Lucinda’s effort. Jim fires all of the pieces and carries out most of the administrative functions of Leaman Potter.
|The making of pottery requires six basic steps, which are outlined below. Creating functional or decorative pottery requires a great deal of knowledge and skill, but the aspiring potter will find this to be a good reference on how to get started.|
|Step 1: Throwing
The actual molding of the clay is called throwing. More specifically, throwing a pot involves widening or shortening the clay, creating an opening in the clay, and generally forming the clay into the structure of the object you are making. This process is done on a spinning potter’s wheel and starts the multi-step process of producing a finished piece.
|Step 2: Drying
The clay is quite soft when it is thrown so it is allowed to dry to the hardness of leather (“leather hard” in pottery terms) so that the bottom of the piece can be trimmed and a foot ring added if desired. Lids are also trimmed at this stage to add knobs and adjust diameter if need be. This process takes one to two days depending on the relative humidity of the atmosphere and the detail desired on the bottoms of the ware being made. The pieces are then allowed to dry completely. This takes up to a week again depending on atmospheric conditions.
|Step 3: Bisque Fire
Even after 1 week of drying, the clay still has a small amount of water in it. In order to remove the remainder of the water, the clay is put in a kiln that is heated to 1,830 degrees farenheit. It takes a full day of work to prepare the kiln and the pottery, and the pottery requires 2 days to cool.
|Step 4: Glazing
After the pottery has cooled, the glaze can be applied. Glaze is essentially a mixture of chemicals and colored minerals that are crushed into powder and added to water. This colored liquid coats the entire piece, including the inside, and the chemicals in the glaze create unique highlights each time the glaze is used. Several different glazes can be used on one item, and certain methods of firing can give a glaze a different look, so there is a wide variety of styles that can be created. Because you can use so many combinations, glazing can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours.
|Step 5: Final Firing
For the final firing, the pottery is placed into a kiln that is heated to a temperature of near 2400 degrees farenheit. The purpose of this firing is to set the glaze on the item, which makes it capable of containing food or water of various temperatures. This process can take up to 24 hours.
|Step 6: Sanding
The final step is sanding the bottom of the piece. Sometimes, the clay or the glaze can harden roughly on the base. Sanding the bottom is a way to smooth the base of the piece, so that it can be handled comfortably and so that it has consistent support on a table or shelf. The pottery is now ready for use.