"Feats of Clay", strange name, funny logo.
If the little city of Lincoln, California has a claim to fame it is "Gladding McBean". Never heard of it? If you are an architect who likes to use decorative Terra Cotta in design or a ceramics artist who wants to enter her work in competition, then you probably know Gladding McBean and the "Feats of Clay"
So what do they make at this large plant? This stuff at the left. These broken pieces of decorative terra cotta have been sent here to be replicated for the restoration of the buildings from which they were removed.
Each year in May, Lincoln Arts in cooperation with Gladding Mcbean hosts a tour of the plant and a juried competition for creative ceramics.
The first step in the process is the making of a model. For new work the architect would send a detailed drawing, for restoration drawings would be made from the old pieces. The model must be larger than the finished piece because the clay will shrink during drying.
Molds are then made from the models and clay is beaten into the molds. There can be no air pockets.
The clay spends several hours in the mold, once out of the molds they are finished by hand and then sent to the drying room before being glazed and fired.
There is only one firing, unlike the pottery some might have made as a hobby, there is no bisque firing here.
The kiln room is huge, mostly containing these large beehive kilns used for the clay pipe. They haven't been in operation for several years though some still hold the fired pipe. I guess there was no point in removing it if there was no one to buy it.
The decorative terra cotta goes in this smaller kiln, roof tiles and quarry tiles in a similar kiln a bit bigger.
It is an interesting tour with too much information to take in all at once. Fortunately, Gladding McBean has some informative videos and pictures on their website.
The tour of the plant is only one part of the"Feats of Clay", the other part is the amazing works of art on display. The competition draws artists from around the world and I'll show you some of it in a latter post.
This is a part of my world, find other views of our wonderful world at That's my World, Tuesday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.