60% of our clay is dug by hand from local deposits. These local clays have some lovely subtle qualities, however, are often mixed with purchased materials to give them strength and durability. Local and imported porcelain, Stoneware, Iron-bearing Stoneware and local additives are all used to create individual unique tableware and sculptural pieces at VPP.
Each piece is hand-thrown on a wheel or hand-formed in the studio by potter Zak Chalmers. All pieces are made individually with great attention given to the form, design and functionality. Every piece is unique and different and boasts individual throw lines or imprints.
As our Woodfired kilns reach 1300 degrees celsius our glazes are manufactured on site from raw materials to withstand the high temperatures. Each leather hard piece is glazed in specific celedon, temeku or shino glazes and allowed to air dry before being loaded into the kiln. This process is referred to as raw glazing and timing is particularly important to ensure the pots don’t rehydrate.
There are two styles of Woodfired kilns at VPP. The cantenary Arch kiln has a dome like shape and is built to reach temperature quickly. A firing in this kiln begins with a day of packing the pieces in and preheating in the afternoon. Overnight it is tended to three times and then the temperature is brought up to 1300 degrees during the following day. Usually this process begins at 6am and continues until 9pm depending on the weather.
The other much larger kiln is the Anagmama. This kiln resembles a long tunnel shape and takes roughly 3 days to fill with pots. The preheat is often much longer, up to two days and it takes around 4 fulldays and three nights to fire by adding wood into the firebox roughly every 4 minutes.
Polishing is the final step in the process. Every piece is checked and then the bottom surfaces are ground and polished to ensure they are smooth and functional.