Echeri Ceramics is located in a warehouse studio in the outskirts of Sacramento CA. Here, my husband Luis and I (Ale) design and produce ceramic dinnerware and home decor. We use a bold speckled porcelain clay to create plates, bowls, platters, drinkware, serveware, and home decor. Each piece is handcrafted using one of the four methods and techniques to produce beautiful and practical ceramic pieces.
Our tour begins with the traditional method known as wheel throwing, and will continue by describing three other methods known as Slump Molding, Slip Casting, and the Jigger/Jolly..
This is the traditional method that’s been used throughout the ages for creating ceramic pieces. The first step is to grab a lump of clay and placed on a rotating wheel. As the wheel rotates, hand pressure is applied until the desired vessel is formed. Today, we use a mechanical wheel to rotate clay to form bowls, plates, cups and white speckled dinnerware.
Specific molds are custom made in our studio out of MDF wood, or plaster. Once the mold meets the desired shape, we then proceed to roll out a large piece of clay so that it looks like a thick pancake. Next, the clay is placed over the slump molds and pressed into the clay so that it mimics the outer shape of the mold. Once the clay has hardened to a state of “leather hard” we are able to take the piece off the mold where it will maintain its shape. These molds are used to make serving trays and platters.
Slip casting is a method we have barely started to introduce in our studio. Our Caballo series is made using this technique. In this process we pour liquid clay into a mold. Once the clay has set, we then pour the excess liquid clay out of the mold for reuse. We then let the clay firm up. Once it has firmed we are able to remove the remaining liquid clay from the molds, and clean the leftover seams and allow time for the clay to dry.
Our newest production technique is specifically designed by us for a new line of products made from porcelain clay. The benefits for using the Jigger/Jolly technique for creating new porcelain clay dinnerware are consistent, stackable and very durable dishes. To make each dish, pressure is applied using a plastic plate to compress the wet clay onto a mold to form the inside and the outside. Once it dries we then pop it out of the mold and trim the rim of the item. We take pride in preserving signs of hand-craft as we design our products from the beginning until it reaches the Jig so each item still continues to have a unique touch.
After the first kiln firing, each individual item is glazed. Our glazes are made in-house, meaning we custom create the colors in our studio. This can be quite a long process sometimes, and lends to mixing and blending pigments. With the right hue, tint, or shade, we decide on making a larger batch. Ale is the glaze specialist! She creates, tests for food safety before and applies the glaze to the pottery via dipping.
Thank you for joining us on this visual tour! We are so grateful for this community, and we are so excited that you get to be part of it. You’re such an important part of our studio, and have influenced us to get to where we are today.