Bee Balm Handiwork has multiple pottery lines. Each has it's own purpose, building technique and finishing process.
Bee Balm Handiwork Potter Theresa Hendrickson works with raw clay, which she shapes by hand or on the wheel. Speckled Buff
stoneware is a favorite for sculpture, while B-Mix is preferred for much of the functional pieces.
Raku pieces need to be strong to survive, so she uses either Raku clay or stoneware with grog for this.
Once dried and trimmed, each piece is bisque
fired to around 1900 degrees
farenheit. Once it has cooled from this firing, it can be glazed.
Theresa uses a variety of glazes and underglazes. Some are commercial glazes from Mayco, Amaco, Spectrum or Potters Choice. Others are hand mixed from the basic minerals, metals or clays. The glaze selected will match the firing method and are labeled on this site and within our social media posts as Bee Balm Handiwork. Our glaze recipes come from glazy.org, Mesa Arts Center or other sources. Once the piece is fully glazed and the glaze has dried, the piece goes into the kiln for glaze firing.
She has access to multiple kilns for the glaze firing and can use different firing techniques. One is an electric kiln that can be precisely controlled. Her kiln has a firing ventilation system that works to keep oxygen available throughout the firing process. This type of firing is referred to as oxidation firing. The other kiln is a gas kiln. With the gas kiln, the temperature is controlled as the piece is heated to around 1900 degrees farenheit, but then the piece is pulled red-hot from the kiln and put into a reduction chamber where the glaze is finished in a reduction environment, without oxygen.