Shaping


The grading (Calibrage) is used to make dishes like plates, bowls etc. We put clay in a plaster mould, set it in rotation and a “calibre” (kind of cut-out board) gives the complementary shape.

The Tournage allows us to make pieces up to about 50 centimeters. The potter places a ball of earth on the girelle of the wheel. He centers it, pierces it and shapes it up as a cylinder. Then he gives the desired shape to the piece. It is a job that demands a very long apprenticeship.

The wheel with rope is an integral part of the identity of "The earth in forms". This process, finalized in 1920 by René Augé-Laribé allows to make vases of very big dimensions. On a wheel, around a metallic axis, we place rounded boards, like orange slices, which we round-up with ropes. We apply the clay to this assembly. A calibre smooths the outside surface. This system, little used until then, is spreading out and several craftsmen now use it, not only in France but all the way to Baton-Rouge in Louisiana.

Decoration


The decorations are painted on with a barolet. It is a kind of terra-cotta pear fitted with a small reed pipe. The barolet is filled with slip or engobe (liquid clay) colored by metallic oxides. This process is very common in glazed terra-cottas. The Alsatian, Savoyard and Provençal potters often use it.

Drying


All the pieces must be perfectly dry before going in the oven. If a plate can dry in a few days, even a few hours, the biggest pieces can take up to three months to dry! The drying must be slow and homogeneous to avoid cracks.

Firing


Once dry, the pieces are fired. "La terre en formes" possess a 8 cubic meters oven. The rise in temperature lasts 20 hours and it then needs three days for cooling. It reaches a temperature of 1050° Celsius, which qualifies our enamels for the current standards.