Any of you who knows me knows of my love affair for anything Bauer…old, new, I love it all.
So happily we are friendly with the Bauer folks and recently got to go to their factory in Highland, California.
The factory is over 40,000 square feet. The floors are wood, the walls are tin…hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Ah the glamorous life of ceramic production.
In slip mold production, a pot or whatever piece is being produced starts off with, of course, a mold. Here is a pile of production molds waiting to be filled with clay.
Clay is mixed constantly throughout the day in this vat and pumped into the molds.
Then once the clay has set it’s removed from the mold, usually a few days depending on the weather. This piece has a rim that is attached separately otherwise it couldn’t release from the mold.
Here workers clean the “greenware” preparing it for the kiln. I never realized how much handling each piece requires.
Greenware amassing, waiting to fill a kiln. It takes a lot of room.
Cones they use inside the kilns that help determine how hot they are firing the clay.
Once fired, the pieces are now called “bisque.” They are rigid and could be used at this stage, but they’re also porous and would stain very easily.
Now comes the glazing. Here a worker is dipping a pot in a black glaze. Behind him is a spraying booth, another method for applying glazes.
These pieces are glazed black but I would never guess that’s what color they would be.
Once the glaze has been applied, it’s back into the kiln for a second firing. The pieces are stacked on the frame piece on the right which is then rolled into the kiln. I don’t know about you, but they didn’t have a kiln that size at my high school.
And here’s that black pot (okay, maybe not the exact same pot) as a finished product. Don’t even get me going about my love for black pots.
This tour really broadened my appreciation for how much goes into each and every one of these pieces. Every time I pick up one of mine I think I’m going to ask, “I wonder who cleaned this?” If you want some of your own, come in to Potted or visit us on line.