How Claymonsters are created...
All Claymonsters begin on the wheel. Cat and Rich hand throw and then sculpt every monster individually so that each piece is one-of-a-kind. They hand form every eyeball, horn, and nostril. There is no slip casting or press molding.
There are two very different firing temperatures that are used to create the monsters: Low-fire and Stoneware.
The low-fire creatures are called Claymonster Originals and are made with a white low-fire clay body. First they are thrown and sculpted then dried. Each is then carefully hand painted with three layers of glaze on greenware.
They’re single fired to 1888°F. This process is laborious and time consuming. That’s how they earned the title Originals and each one is given its own name.
The benefits of using the low-fire clay are that it allows the use of brighter colored glazes and lends a bit more liberty with form and creativity. The downside is that low-fire clay is slightly more fragile and not as durable over time.
For the high fire stoneware monsters, they use a blend of two clay bodies that are then thrown, trimmed, and assembled.
When completely dry, it’s loaded into a kiln for its first firing, called a bisque firing. Bisque firing is approximately a halfway temp to make it durable enough for the glazing process.
The next step in the studio is called ‘Wax & Eyeball’. This is the fussy job of putting black in eyes, colors on features and then waxing all the areas where you wouldn’t want glaze. People often ask how long it takes to make each piece. Cat thinks of this step, and her answer is invariably, “A very long time”.
The stoneware is then dipped in buckets of glaze, cleaned, and reloaded into the kiln for the second glaze firing.
For these stoneware monsters, they generally fire them to cone 7 or 2262°F. This makes them the most durable and functional monsters in the Claymonster product line.
Glaze firings take about 24 hours and another day to cool. After unloading, every piece is checked for flaws and carefully sanded before it’s finally ready for release into the world.