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ABOUT TATAREK POTTERY

From Harmless Hobby to Consuming Passion.

 

In 2018 after years of going to a little independent Paint Your Own pottery shop, I realised that my access to projects would come to an end when the lovely proprietor retired at the beginning of 2020. Having been with her for many years, I had graduated to projects far beyond anything I could access at other paint-your-own shops, particularly working with unfired clay items (most shops buy in ready-fired bisque items).

Horrified at the thought of losing a hobby that had become a passion, I decided the only solution was to learn to make my own pieces to decorate, no problem, just learn to throw pottery for myself. How hard could it be?

Well, quite hard as it turned out, after a year of lessons, I was even more in love with working with clay and ready to go it alone. I commandeered a room in my home and installed a kiln in the cellar, then Lockdown came, and I found myself continuing my journey of discovery in isolation. I also discovered Diamond Core carving tools and have never looked back.

In the shop, you will find the fruits of my labours. Each piece is lovingly individually crafted by me freehand. I don’t use transfers, stamps or templates in my work, so while a design might be repeated, it will never be quite the same as its predecessors. And owing to an appallingly short attention span, you will find many different subjects and styles. No sooner do I produce one design than my mind gets distracted by the next idea, something online, something seen on a walk or day out, or a stray comment from someone; it doesn’t take much.

With my children grown I now find myself in the truly wonderful position to be able to pursue pottery more or less full-time.

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The Tatarek Pottery Process

While I love throwing and experimenting with glazes my greatest joy is in carving designs into the clay before it fully hardens. It is a time consuming technique, especially if the finished article is to be multi coloured (The translucent glazes I work with require three coats), but I think it’s worth it for the results.

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Throwing - Everyone knows that hand thrown pottery is made on a wheel, but that is just the start.

turnign and trimming

Turning - Once thrown, the pieces are carefully dried until hard enough to be handled, then they need to be ‘turned’, back on the wheel their bases are tidied up, and their shape refined.

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Bisque firing

Pieces are then bisque fired, this takes the piece from fragile dry clay to robust ceramic, at this stage, there is no glaze so the pieces can be all jumbled in and will come to no harm as long as they are fully dry.

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Carving

For me, the next stage is hand carving my designs into the still pliable clay before setting everything out to fully dry ready for firing.

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Glazing

After the 1st firing comes the really time consuming part, glazing, everything needs at least 3 coats to achieve consistent rich colours.

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BEFORE

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AFTER

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Glaze Firing

And finally the Glaze firing, everything carefully laid out this time so nothing touches, and fingers crossed that everything works the way you planned it.

Image by Victor Lu
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