care for your craft: clay
Do you know how to care for your clay product? The first step to properly care for your products, is to be informed about their characteristics.
What to look out for when you are shopping for clay craft:
What are you using your crafted piece for?
What clay material best suits your lifestyle needs?
Where will your piece spend most of its time – kitchen table, patio, bathroom, counter? Know what finishes will be kind to your surfaces.
functionality & aesthetics
If you find a piece you like, it's important to be mindful of the relationship between aesthetics and function, for example, it looks great but doesn't pour right. Consider as well if the design, function and structure is proportionate to all sides of the work - front, top and bottom.
Craft is very tactile, and ceramics are made by the hand, for the hand, so holding the piece will also inform us on the quality of the item. Is it comfortable to hold? Are there cracks or warpage?
Check for secure handles, spouts and ridges. Surface decoration should be proportional, in scale and size.
To care for your functional clay items, it's important to know whether it is waterproof, food-safe, and whether it is dishwasher and microwave safe, to avoid damaging your piece. That said, these items are handcrafted, and should be handled with care.
ask the artist
If you get a chance to meet the artist, you can get more information about the piece; for example, if the piece is functional or sculptural, or about the process that was used to create the piece.
Another relevant thing to know is if the work complies with Health Standards. Glazes must meet Health Canada requirements. Become familiar with the Hazardous Products Act for more regulations.
If the piece is for the kitchen, glazes should be lead-free and void of crazing. Whether you're shopping for earthenware, stoneware, or porcelain, make sure to keep these tips in mind to care for your pottery collection!
cover image: Striped Vases by Louise Card
in text: Ceramic Teapot by Celia Rice-Jones