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How are Seasonal Living Ceramics Made?

Seasonal Living Ceramics

Shaping

Many Seasonal Living ceramic furnishings—especially large-scale pieces—begin their lives from a handmade plaster of Paris mold. Other pieces are completely thrown and shaped by hand. Either way, clay is dug and mixed for the correct workability. Clay is pressed into a mold and air-cured into fragile, unfired pottery called greenware. Air-drying is critical for greenware. The piece must be completely and evenly dried before being fired into bisque ware.

Firing

The next step is bisque firing, which vitrifies the greenware into glass. During bisque firing, kiln temperatures are slowly raised to drive any remaining atmospheric moisture from the clay. If temperatures are raised too high too quickly, steam is created in the clay and pieces can burst. Clay finally becomes ceramic while remaining porous enough to accept glaze at approximately 1730 degrees F (943 C). After reaching this temperature the kiln is turned off and allowed to cool slowly to avoid breaking pieces from temperature stress. Clay can expand or contract by up to 10% during the firing process. This is why Seasonal Living product dimensions are approximate.

Glazing

Next, artisans hand-apply glazes and fire the pieces a second time. Gas-fired kilns ensure a high, consistent heat that brings glazes to jewel-like color saturation. However, varying clay mineral compositions, the number of times a product is fired, how heavily the glaze is hand-applied by different individuals, levels of humidity, location in the kiln, and glaze reactions to different clay mineral compositions affect the final result. Burn marks, pitting, green/blue/black flecks, unglazed spots and minor cracks can appear on, in, and below the glaze. There will always be small variations in color, glaze, and surfaces. These are normal, adding character and guaranteeing the uniqueness of each piece.

How Are Seasonal Living's Lightweight Concrete Tables Made?

MANUFACTURING

Artisans in Vietnam blend the concrete mix and pour it into molds, adding ramie fiber as they go. The forms are allowed to cure. Curing is the process of providing adequate moisture, temperature, and time to allow the concrete to achieve the desired properties for its intended use. This usually means maintaining a relative humidity in the concrete of greater than 80 percent, a temperature greater than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and for a time typically ranging from three to 14 days depending on the specific application.

When the forms are cured, artisans hand-apply pigments to their surfaces and then use a multi-step sanding, waxing, and buffing process to create a Venetian-style silky touch with a low-luster finish.

Many factors influence the final patina of lightweight concrete. These can include:

  • Different batches of raw materials and where they are sourced
  • Physical handling from craftsman to craftsman
  • Different amount of hand pressure exerted during pigmentation
  • Amount of wax applied during buffing stages