the clay i Use
After a year of testing multiple clay bodies I settled on a midfire (refers to temperature) stoneware that is grey when wet and cream when fired, and a deep chocolate brown. The cream is a dream to work with as far as texture and accepts a wide variety of surface decorations. The chocolate is fussy and there is only one glaze that i use on it, but i just can't part with it's rich satin finish when bare. Much of my work is partially glazed with the raw clay showing at the bottoms or rims. This adds a little texture variation making it both modern yet earthy. This also requires a little more attention when it comes to home care, which I'll get to after sharing about the clays.
The dipping dishes here have bare clay on the rim and backside. They are glazed with a super stable gloss on the interior. It is important to me to use materials that are tried and true and, in the ceramic world, are well known to be "food safe." This means the chemicals that make up the glaze will not leach into your food after coming into contact with acids like lemons or tomato sauce. A good glaze should also ward off cutlery marks. I try to stick with using popular glazes that have been formulated by well known ceramicists that are experts in glaze chemistry. If you have read my "about" page you will already know that I dropped chemistry in collage and signed up for pottery instead. ;0)
Caring for Cream
The parts of the pot that are left unglazed will be somewhat susceptible to staining. Products like baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar are usually all you need to scrub off unwanted spaghetti sauce. That being said, it is not a good idea to let your precious pottery sit in dirty sink water, who does that? Ok, I may have, but I don't recommend it. No soaking pottery, but you can put it in the dishwasher with a mild detergent on gentle cycle. Here is a rule of thumb for washing... If you hope to HAND it down then it is best to HAND wash.
About vases with bare clay: there are many flowers that will leave their pollen or vibrant beauty marks on your bare pot. If this happens and baking soda didn't do the trick, try some oxi products, and if all else fails let it sit in bright sun for a couple of days ... I've heard this worked for someone. I have a lot of pots with bare bottoms and have never had an issue. I hope you won't either. Bare ware can also be wet sanded. Shhhh, you didn't hear that ceramic secret from me tho. MIcrowave: Yes, but it will get hot. Oven: YUP but no quick temperature changes.
Easy peasy cleaning! It's pretty hard to stain these dark beauties. My dark bottom pots get rubbed with olive oil from time to time just to ward off the dry look they get after washing. These are also food safe, should not be soaked, gentle cycle in the dishwasher, or HAND wash if you want to HAND it down.
Microwave: Yes, but they do get hot. Oven: YUP No quick temperature changes!