THE ART OF MAKING MEC CLAY COOKWARE
The complete process of making each clay pot takes about 20-24 days but is fully worth the time and effort considering all the goodness that comes out of each piece for years to come… Here are the steps that go into making our healthy & safe cookware. Miriam’s Earthen Cookware is proudly Hand Made in Stoughton MA, USA. Here is how your cookware is made at our zero- toxin, zero-waste production facility:
HARVESTING THE CLAY
Our special clay is harvested from secluded and non-industrialized lands from across the USA. Great care is taken to ensure the composition and purity of our clays. We are probably the 1st cookware makers to guarantee even our raw material-that it is free of any chemicals and toxic contaminants like LEAD and/or CADMIUM etc. (Test results from our most recent harvest).
PREPARING THE CLAY
The harvested clay is then wet and pugged (the process of making workable clay) and any stones are removed. The wet clay is then left to sit/season for a period of 48 hours. Any trapped air is later removed by wedging.
No extenders, plasticizers, dyes or any other additives added-pure harvested clay is wedged.
MAKING THE POTS & LIDS
The pots and the lids are individually thrown on the wheel. The pots are thrown straight side up and the lids are separately thrown upside down! Great care is taken to ensure a neat finish right from the start!
Skilled potters make the grove on the pot to seat the lid
The advantage of throwing the pots on the wheel as opposed to pressing them on a hydraulic press, although throwing takes much longer and requires more skill. The end product is much stronger, more versatile and is less prone to cracking and breakage even in the long run.
Potters skillfully center the knob for the lid
DRYING AND FINISHING
The cookware is set to dry for about 2 days and is then hand finished, individually-one piece at a time, on the wheel. After this the pot and the lid are set to dry evenly until they are fully dry and ready for the final finishing and firing. This takes about 7-10 days, depending on the weather and season. Any unused or excess clay is put right back into the pugmill to reuse for the next batch of pots, that way nothing is wasted.
THE FINAL FINISH: THE METHOD OF TERA-SIGILLATA–USING CLAY (NOT GLAZE) TO FINISH
The bone-dried pots are then given their final finishing. Again while on the wheel, a thin coating of terracotta clay and water is applied to the outside of the pot and the outside of the lid with a sponge and the pieces are then hand polished with a special wooden tool to get a smooth finish. This method of finishing a pot without the use of any glaze–a toxic liquid coating–dates back to over several thousands of years, and is called Tera-sigillata. It is the best way to get a clean finish for the pot without using toxic glaze. It’s hard work that requires a lot of skill but is totally worth it!
…AND FINALLY THE MOST ANTICIPATED FIRING PROCESS
The pots are then set to dry for one more day and then are packed in the kiln and fired to about 1750 – 2000 degree temperature. They are then cooled down to room temperature before being taken out of the kiln. This whole firing process takes about 20-24 hours!
Clay cookware is placed in the kiln for firing, fired pots turn from handcrafted earth into fully functional stone and can last forever when used the right way!
This firing process is especially very fascinating and exiting for all of us at Miriams Earthen Cookware. It’s fascinating because this raw palpable, mendable soft earth we started off with is about to go through tremendous change and be transformed into a hard, solid, fully usable beauty that could possibly last a thousand or more years! Exiting because of the anticipation that builds in wanting to know the results and hoping that every piece inside would turn out good. Nothing is added to the raw material to guarantee any uniformity in results so each time it is a beautiful surprise gift that is much awaited for!
SOAKING, SEASONING, SAYING GOODBYE & WISHING LONG LIFE!
After firing, each pot is removed from the kiln and inspected thoroughly to make sure they have come out successful from the great ordeal. They are then sanded & washed in in good clean water and are set to dry thoroughly for 2 days. Then they packed with 100% recyclable, reusable material for shipment to their respective owners.
The special finishing and burnishing lets you start cooking without having to spend a lot of time and effort seasoning your clay pot.
Pasta with string beans cooked in MEC Size 2
We here at Miriams Earthen Cookware love what we do and are happy to serve you and our beautiful planet one clay pot at a time.