We make all our pots by hand, mostly on a traditional potter's wheel. Everything at Whichford is done in-house which means we have total control during the making process.
Below is a brief illustrated guide about how we work.
See how we can inscribe any shape or size of flowerpot to make a unique and special gift. Perfect for any occasion - birthdays, anniversaries, retirement or leaving presents, these make a long-lasting and thoughtful gift.
Preparing our Clay
In order to have the best clay possible we make our own. We use a mixture of three local clays, which we prepare and process on site. Richard and Brian, our chief clay magicians, prepare trolleys of fresh clay every day to give to the throwers, who create the pots on potters' wheels.
The Throwing Process
Throwing a pot is fascinating to watch and seemingly effortless, but anyone who has had a go will know that it is much, much harder than it looks! Our technique has been passed on to us through five generations of master potters and is powerful and energetic.
First the ball of clay is centred on the wheel-head, a process that requires strength and force as a single pot can weigh up to sixty pounds. The clay is then 'pulled' up in three movements to a marker stick.
Many of our pots are decorated the following day by our decorators, Hilary, Debs, Sas and Lynda. This decoration is achieved by using various methods. The first technique we use is sprigged decoration which is made using a plaster mould. The sprig mould is held against the wall of the pot, which is then pressed out from the inside, into the mould. Secondly, we may add various parts to pots - clay strips of basketwork, handles or lugs. Thirdly, stamps, shells and roulettes can be used to emboss the leather-hard pot.
Hand Pressed Pots
Some of the more ornate designs and garden features are made by coiling and beating clay into a plaster mould, which we have designed and cast ourselves. After the pot or feature is released from the mould a lot of work is done fettling the pot and decoration.
When a pot is finished it is given the Whichford stamp and its own catalogue code and left to dry.
Drying & Firing
Once a pot is finished the servicing team take over and nurture the pots through the drying and firing process. On average a pot takes about three weeks to dry depending upon size. The pots are fragile at this stage so they have to be loaded into the kiln very carefully. This takes some thought and time, as certain pots prefer to be stacked in different ways.