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  • Is your pottery dishwasher safe?
    Yes, unless it says otherwise on the description of the particular item all Derek Harbinson Ceramics products can be run through the dishwasher as often as you like. If you don't have a dishwasher you can try getting a teenager to wash up, but good luck with that.
  • Why is everything sold out?
    The nature of producing small batch pottery is that I don't hold a lot of stock at one time. At the studio I make until there are enough items to hold a sale. Shop opening times and dates are all advertised in advance on Instagram, the blog on the site here and via the email. Items tend to sell out quickly so follow me to be notified or sign up to the email.
  • Is your pottery oven safe?
    Yes. Clay is fired in a kiln at up to about 1260 degrees C. So in your domestic oven that goes up to 260 at full whack ceramic casseroles and dishes are barely noticing that it's got a little warm.
  • How long does it take to make a piece of pottery?
    Good question. Handmade studio pottery goes through various time-consuming, labour intensive processes before it's ready to go to a new home. Clay is first thrown on the wheel. Then it has to dry out enough to be handled and trimmed (this can take a few hours in summer and days in winter...). After that, when it is completely dried out (this can take days or weeks, depending on temperature in the studio, size of the piece, time of year etc) it is 'bisque' fired - this turns clay hard and brittle. Only then can the piece be glazed and fired again, making it much more robust, waterproof and useable. Add to that that the kiln is only fired when it's full to save energy and you can see that a simple mug can take quite a while. Luckily though, it will then last more or less forever, as long as you don't drop it. Ceramics are among the oldest man made objects around, so waiting a few weeks to make something doesn't seem so bad.
  • What glazes do you use?
    All the glazes are mixed in the studio from raw materials. Glazing is science and you have to get the recipes right otherwise they don't work. Think of making the pot like cooking and glazing like baking. When you're cooking you can go freestyle, throw some things together, experiment as much as you like, taste as you go and change things. When you're baking you follow a recipe or else. Which doesn't mean you can't experiment, and I do, often. But experiments are done in small scale to test the glazes first rather than just using them on bigger pieces and crossing your fingers.
  • What equipment do you use?
    Pottery nerd question: my current wheel is a Roderveld Max 30 which I love because it's easy to clean and solid as a rock. The current kiln is an electric 120 litre Skutt. Other stuff comes and goes, but I would be lost without the Mudtools Do All trimming tool. And like most potters I also possess an insane number of buckets.
  • Is your pottery safe to eat from?
    Any pottery made specifically as functional stuff (mugs, cereal bowls, plates etc) is food safe. Anything not food safe will be clearly marked as such on the sales listing and on a card in your package. Most glazes I use are food safe but occasionally on decorative or sculptural pieces (including some bowls and vases) there are glazes used that contain chemicals you might not want to lick too much. But they look really pretty.
  • What's the deal with your logo?
    One of the first things I ever made out of clay at The Ceramic Studio in Kent was a stamp, so that all the students' work could be identified. I found a screw and then another square thing and stamped them into clay. I still have that stamp and use it from time to time and a stylised version of it has become the logo, designed in Keynote since I'm not a designer and made into a vector file by my teenage son who is.
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