THE ART & SCIENCE OF MAKING MEC CLAY COOKWARE
The complete process of making each clay pot takes about 24-30 days & is fully worth the time and effort considering all the goodness that comes from them for years to come…
Our products are made in the most natural process & using only the highest quality primary clay. There are no dairy or animal by-products ever used in the making, So there are no harmful by-products or pollutants that are created in the process of making of MEC cookware. Here are the steps that go into making our 100% Healthy & Green Cookware.
HARVESTING THE CLAY
The MEC 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 clay. We are probably the 1st cookware makers to guarantee even our raw material -- that it's free of chemicals, toxins and other contaminants like LEAD and/or CADMIUM. (see what essential nutrients Clay pots are made up of)
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 left to sit for a period of 48 hours. Any trapped air is later removed by wedging.
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! The bottom of the pot is made in concentric circles and finished in a way to take heat faster & spread it evenly. The sides on the other hand, are finished in down ward spirals so as to conserve heat without loosing much. The flat bottom, straight walled profile along with these key features makes it the "most energy efficient clay pot" in our modern day kitchens.
Although pressing on a hydraulic or other kind of press takes less skill and time, we choose throwing because the finished product in this case is much stronger, long lasting and can conduct heat more evenly.
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 lids are set to dry together until they are fully dry and ready for the final finishing. This takes about 7-10 days, depending on the weather. Any unused or excess clay is put right back into the pug mill to reuse for the next batch, nothing is wasted!
THE FINAL FINISH: THE METHOD OF TERA-SIGILLATA -- USING FINE CLAY NOT GLAZE
The bone-dried pots are then given their final finishing on the wheel. A thin coating of the finest partials of MEC clay with water (no additives) is applied to the outside of the pot and lid and the pieces are then hand burnished with a special wooden tool to a smooth finish. This method of finishing a pot without the use of glaze--a toxic liquid coating--dates back to over several thousands of years, and is called Tera-sigillata in the west. It is the best way to get a clean finish without using toxic glaze. It’s hard work and requires skill but is totally worth the effort!
…AND FINALLY THE MOST ANTICIPATED FIRING PROCESS
The pots are then set to dry for one more day and then packed in the kiln and fired to about 1750 – 2000 degree temperature. Because the raw material does not contain any added elasticizes, plasticizes other chemicals it is more that adequate to fire clay to this temperature. Only manufactured clay like ceramics or porcelain needs to be fired to higher temperatures to fuse the different additives together.
They are then cooled down to room temperature before being taken out of the kiln. This whole firing process takes about 24 hours!
The firing process is especially fascinating and exiting for all of us at Miriams Earthen Cookware. It’s fascinating because this raw palpable, 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 last many many years -- it could very well exceed our lifetime and the ones after us too! Exiting because of the anticipation in wanting to know the results and hoping that every piece inside would turn out good. Nothing is added to the raw material to predict uniformity in results so each time it is a beautiful surprise that is much awaited for!
THE FINAL STEPS BEFORE SAYING GOODBYE!
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 wiped with water set to dry and then packed for shipment. All our products are packed with 100% recyclable, reusable material.
The special finishing by burnishing lets you start cooking without having to spend a lot of time and effort seasoning your clay pot.
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.