A sharing of ideas, techniques, successes and failures in the volatile world of pottery and family life.
Have a question about our pottery or our process? See if the answer is here. If not, send us a message and we'll answer any questions you have.
What's the difference between Earthenware and Stoneware? There's all kinds of chemistry involved but the simplest explanation is strength, weight and vitreosity. The strongest and heaviest form of ceramics is stoneware. When completely fired to maturity (over 2200 degrees F) unglazed stoneware becomes vitreous, which means it becomes completely waterproof. When unglazed earthenware (like terracotta) is fired (approx 1900 degrees F) water will seep through. That's why we can leave our bird houses partly unglazed because the stoneware will keep the baby birds from getting soggy and that would be bad.
Is it OK to leave Thistle Bee Pottery garden pieces outside year round? That
depends. We're in NJ and have left bird houses outside for years with
no damage. However, in colder climates it might be safer to bring them
in until nesting season starts in late winter/early spring. Also,
pieces meant for ground or planter decoration should be brought in for
the winter if you get ground temperatures below freezing. Pottery and
ice don't get along very well due to contraction and expansion. If left
on the ground any moisture can freeze and cause chips, flaking or
cracks in the pottery.
Isn’t it better to hand-wash Thistle Bee Pottery instead of putting it in the dishwasher?No, not really.Our pottery is very durable.It’s more likely that a piece would be dropped in the sink and damaged than hurt by a normal dishwasher cycle. And who likes hand-washing anyway?
Can I put Thistle Bee Pottery in the oven?Yes, but as with all stoneware, it should be done with care.Pottery should never be thermally shocked.Pieces should be heated and cooled slowly. For example, do not put it in a preheated oven or submerge a hot piece in dishwater. It’s best to put stoneware in a cold oven and let it heat up as the oven does.
Allow food to reach room temperature on the piece before
putting it into the cold oven (or microwave for a few minutes to remove
the chill). Never put pottery in the broiler or a
toaster oven or subject it to any kind of open flame or direct heat element. When used with care pottery will heat safely but if you heat it too fast it will crack! Because of this (and the fact that all pottery will break if subjected to extremes) we are not able to replace cracked or broken pieces. Our
pottery withstands temperatures far above those of any oven used to
cook food (it is fired to over 2200 degrees F).
Can I put Thistle Bee Pottery in the microwave?Yes.However, we do recommend microwaving cold items on half power for the first half of cooking time.(Once again, this is to avoid thermal shock.) Some glazes contain materials that will absorb more of the microwaves and can be very hot to touch. Please be careful.