The Delft pottery production process starts with the sourcing of white clay that is imported from Germany. The clay is then mixed with water to form liquid clay. Afterwards, the liquid is poured into moulds made from plaster of Paris. The plaster absorbs the water and makes the clay to dry quickly.
After the liquid clay is poured into the mould, it takes around thirty minutes to solidify around the mould. The excess liquid is then poured out. Consequently, the moulds are turned upside-down to remove the remaining liquid. The mould is afterwards removed from the pottery after four hours.
Later, the edges are trimmed with a knife and the rough surfaces are smoothened by use of a wet sponge. The pottery is then left for three days to dry completely, followed by burning in an electric kiln for eight hours at a temperature of about 1040 degrees centigrade. Consequently, the pottery is allowed to cool for 24 hours. 1 The baked ceramic articles are then painted with the appropriate decorations.
The Delft Pottery technique started way back in the 13th century when the Delft Company received its municipal rights. In the 16th century, many delft factories were established in many Dutch towns. The plants produced many products including the famous “Maiolica” which was made of tin glaze decorated by being painted blue or being given polychrome design.
The delft company acquired its name from a Dutch village where the articles were widely produced. Due to the civil war in China, many delft factories were closed down due to lack of raw materials. The existing language barrier also made the companies to close down.
In the 19th century, the remaining companies closed due to increased competition and lack of appropriate technology. The cultural aspects and tradition of the Dutch people dictated that they paint all their articles
During the time when the delft pottery started, there were a lot of innovations and artistic techniques due to the discovery of the white porcelain in China. At this time, there was the civil war in China that led to the decline of the products of the delft companies.
In the 17th century, the delft companies brought many exotic wares and spices from China. This action caused many artisans to make their own homemade pottery which led to the decline of the market. 2 By the 19th century, delft pottery had declined due to other European materials gaining popularity.
Moreover, many Germany and other countries’ potters developed their articles which they distinguished from the original delft products by use of more advanced techniques, thus making their products more durable. The sales of the delfts thus diminished.
Some of the current artists that are producing pottery works that are related to delft pottery include “de Delftse Pauw” which exclusively sells and produces entirely hand-painted delft articles although with a different approach.
Further, the British airways has made several airplane tail parts with the delft pottery technique. The delft technique is widely used in the manufacture of many products in the current world and it is an artistic method used by professionally-trained painters.
In addition, many of the collections made by tourists include many of the of the delft remains. Delft pottery thus acts as an investment of the Dutch culture. Further, the delft pottery is used in the manufacture of building tiles, thus adding artistic flavor to modern technology.
Kidson, Joseph R. Historical Notices of the Leeds Old Pottery. Verona NJ: Read Books, 2008. .
Reevens, George M. Sims, Ian and Cripps, J. C. Clay Materials Used In Construction. Bath, United Kingdom: Geological Society, 2006.
Time Out. Time Out Amsterdam. Time Out Guides, 2005.
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