The Father's Hand
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Many of you have wondered how these plates are made.  Sometimes a finished product can deceptively appear as if easily produced. Let us walk you through the process and see what you think.....

The basic material for the plate is slip (liquified clay).  It is stirred in a five gallon pail.

Slip is then poured from a pitcher into the plaster plate mold which will quickly draw moisture out of the slip.

After a half hour excess slip is poured out of the mold back into the 5-gallon pail.  Once the excess slip has been removed the mold must be trimmed before it can be set on a rack to dry. 

After drying in the mold on a rack for several hours a sticky plate is removed from the mold. 


Once removed from their molds, these plates are placed on a hard flat surface to dry.

Once the clay has dried the plate is in a state called "greenware".   The greenware must now have its edges sanded and be checked for blemishes and imperfections.

The gray colored greenware is very delicate and brittle.  It must now be slowly fired in a kiln to over 1900 degrees F to make it hard and strong, at which time it will become "bisque".

After about 8 hours of firing and more than half a day to cool, the plate comes out white.  It is now bisque and ready to be painted.


Now Jan puts her artistic talent to work.


After hand painting the necessary personalized parts on a plate, Jan paints the entire plate with glaze, taking care to not smear the dried paint with the wet glaze.


The fully glazed plate must now be refired.

The next day a glaze fired plate is removed from the kiln.


The plate is ready for the rest of the text and artwork to be added.  Some of Jan's original art and scripts have been duplicated into decals.  Here Jan is gingerly applying a decal to a section of the plate.  After the decals have been applied the plate must undergo one more firing to bake the decal pigment into the glaze.  Once fired the decaled items are indistinguishable from the hand painted items.
A comment about the decal process.  Many customers have plates for more than one child in their household.  These decals have proven to help assure more consistency in the appearance of plates done several years apart.  However, not all plates designs are capable of being done by decals.  Plates entirely hand painted require far more time to create, a factor that may necessitate a higher price for these plates.  


A finished plate at last.  It has only been fired three times! 
(What we have not shown is the 20% that don't make it all the way through the process before breaking.  On more than one occasion we've redone the same plate four times over before completing the finished product!)