Once pottery pieces are formed on the potter’s wheel, they are dried for several weeks before bisque firing. This initial firing is performed in order to fully solidify the piece prior to applying the glaze. The glaze firing temperature does not exceed the temperature used in bisque firing.
I love to see the newly formed pieces lined up on shelves to dry and even the bisque fired pieces prior to glazing. There is something raw and natural about these pieces and a calling back to the effort that has been made at the wheel.
Mass-produced molded pieces are often called ceramics. The abandoned factory near Ger
France was a facility involved in such production. In its working time, it provided large numbers of pieces each week from large kilns. The location was ideal because of the clay and wood resources. Although it closed around the turn of the century, it provided an ideal refuge for Elijah in the book with the added advantage of a a small kiln for him to hone his skill.
Today the Regional Museum of Pottery is located on an authentic site including three large tunnel ovens and ten additional buildings evoking the industry of yore. In the 19th century, the village of Ger had a pottery industry employing 700 workers. Production concentrated on stoneware pots, fired at high temperature (1260° C), which were exported through Western France. Pottery was made in the region from the fourteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century. Pictures in the museum website below show the huge tunnel kiln, duplicates of pieces that were made, and a homestead replica, perhaps similar to the home where Elijah stayed in the book.