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Hand-Made Pottery - The Process

 turning a pot How is Muggins Pottery made? Many of the stages in pottery production are well-known, but what makes Muggins so special is the ability of Dan Moor and Sean Keefe to impart character and style into every Muggins item.

The production of each unique Muggins item starts with high-fired stoneware clay, supplied from Newcastle under Lyme. The clay is wedged and kneaded by hand to remove any lumps or air pockets. When the clay is ready, it is divided into specific amounts depending upon the item to be made, eg pint or half-pint mugs, etc. These are then thrown by Sean Keefe to produce the body shape for each item.

The turned clay then needs to dry to leather-hard. Drying is best done slowly and naturally to prevent cracking. When dry, the item can be turned to remove any excess clay from the base if needed.

Handles and legs are then added, and Dan Moor creates the face – typically each face uses up to 20 individual pieces of hand-formed clay. Different colours are used - white and stained stoneware clays for the details of eyes and teeth. This stage also involves sculpting to obtain the unique Muggins character. Each face is unique – even though Dan has made over 60,000 faces throughout his career.

A second drying process is then needed - again, this is done naturally and can take 3 to 4 days. The item is then fired to 960° C to harden the clay. This is known as the biscuit firing and the pot is still porous and quite weak.

Areas where glaze is not required are coated in wax. Typically this is the base of each item and the face. The item is then dipped into one of the Muggins-created glazes. The wax stops the application of glaze to the base as this would make the pot stick to the shelf when fired in the kiln for the second time. It also keeps the faces clear - these becomes unglazed but vitrified and non-absorbent.

The second firing at 1270° C is at a higher temperature than the biscuit firing and vitrifies the clay and the glaze. Some designs use gold and these need a third firing (760° C), adding to the production costs – but it is worth it for the final effect.

It's only when the second firing is complete do you appreciate the full character and beauty of Muggins Pottery. To see how one of the Muggins kilns looks before and after firing, take a quick peep here.

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Got my Muggings order safe and sound yesterday, thank you. Really thrilled. Not sure I want to give it away, but my name isn't Niall! I’m sure that we will be ordering something else in the future and would be willing to give testimony for such a wonderful product if you wish.

Have shown it off to several people and will be recommending your company for its product and service to all my friends.

Posted to Taunton, Somerset

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