MAKING REAL CLAY COOKWARE/BAKEWARE
When I set out to create genuine American cookware that resembled the thick, hearty clay pieces from the late 1800’s, I purposefully wanted to work with small artisans and with real potters. I had no intention of making another round of slip-cast, machine made clay pieces. They’re cold, obviously mass-produced, and do nothing for the small artisans living out an authentic trade.
So, I set out to find local potters who would be willing to partner with Housekeeper Crockery and who would use all kinds of natural, organic materials to create the pieces. I knew this meant that each piece would be slightly different, that sometimes the glazes and colors might smudge or run, that there’d be obvious hand-made production to this.
I work currently with Rowe Pottery out of Cambridge, WI. This is marvelous for many reasons:
- It’s another woman-owned business
- They have four on-site potters who each stamp the pieces, so we can all see who made it. I love transparency and giving credit where it’s due!
- They are nearby, so transportation costs and gas emissions are low to get the items to and from each other
- They use clay that is custom mixed in Wisconsin – and the ingredients all come from the United States
- Their glazes come from Wisconsin too
- They’ve been around for 40 years – so they know what they’re doing
To get a clay piece, we start with a recipe for clay, which means it needs to be mixed to Rowe’s specifications. The ingredients for this “clay” recipe are brought from all over the United States, and then checked and combined in Wisconsin. Once mixed, it is sent to the potters, who then create the bowls and crocks for Housekeeper Crockery by turning clay on a wheel and hand creating each bowl. The pieces are dried, fired, painted, glazed and re-fired to create the finished pieces.
We fire each piece at 2200 degrees for 12 hours in and incredibly eco-cognizant process. Once they’re set out, they get inspected by both the potters and by me, and if they fit the look we’re going for, we send them out to you! We purposefully went back to the original crafts to make things, like our ceramic wares. We know exactly what it’s made of, and how it’s made. Heck, we can go and see it all made from complete and utter scratch.
We make clay kitchenware with real clay. We make it the old way, the real way, the way that has been made for thousands of years – with hands, heat and love.