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How A Ceramic Water Fountain Is Made


Discover How To Find The Perfect Ceramic Water Fountain

It all starts with a sketch... scroll down to watch the step-by-step process and make sure to click underlined blue links to find great fountain ideas:


"It's amazing how much effort goes into making a ceramic water fountain. The process begins with a bunch of ideas I draw out on a sketch pad. Not all my ideas work out though... For every 10 fountain ideas I come up with, I may use just one." says clay artisan Tim Christian Miller.

Next... the actual sculpting of the water fountain begins. Design elements such as fountain style, size, aesthetics, water flow and scale are tested and incorporated.  

When I'm finally satisfied with a finished prototype, plaster molds are made of all the separate parts of the water fountain. Sometimes we use a potters wheel to make our original fountain prototypes... other times we use vintage designs... it depends on what looks best. I don't get hung up on any set method. The secret is producing a fountain that looks nice and sounds great. (The dove fountain shown in the sketch above will have over 7 molds for its separate parts. The two doves on this ceramic water fountain came from my friend's mold company.) Some molds take a couple weeks to dry before production starts.
 
 Former HGTV Host Jim Wilson& Tim C. Miller
"This is a very dirty job...but someone has to do it!" jokes clay artisan Tim Christian Miller. I really love designing water fountains and garden products because it's fun, relaxing therapy... it's a right brain thing so it's like getting paid to play in the mud. March 2012 marks my 22th year in the ceramics industry. Time flies when you're having fun!

I am very thankful to get to work with other skilled artists, potters and production studios. Every week it's something different here at the design studio. I probably have 30-40 new products being developed as I write this article. The most rewarding part is when my products end up in national catalogs. I'm still a kid at heart and besides... I would have gone nuts without doing something creative like this.

 Island Ceramic Water Fountain
With ceramic water fountains I always think about what will look great and sound soothing. I want to create a serene and joyful experience for my customers.
It's fantastic when customers come up to me in Atlanta and tell me how much they enjoy their fountains.

I think they like having an American made product too. It's different from the typical, resin fountains they see in the big box stores. Plus... we're one of the first American ceramic companies to offer custom colors and matching decor to go with our fountains. Many of our table top fountains have matching vases, aroma therapy burners and planters to set them off. You can see lots of pictures of my ceramic water fountains by clicking here.

All of my ceramic fountains are constructed with the lowest amount of splash factor. That's important because you don't want to have water spilling all over the place.
'' says clay artisan Christian Miller.

Click Here To Discover How To Find The Perfect Ceramic Water Fountain

How A Ceramic Water Fountain
Is Made Video
In this video I reveal step by step how the Dove Ceramic Water fountain is made in the studio. I take you from the beggining of drawing a sketch to a series of steps involved to produce a finished piece. You will discover how much hard work goes into an American crafted fountain. Click here to watch video.


Scroll down to watch the step-by-step process of how our new dove fountain is made...

Liquid clay "slip" is poured into each plaster mold. (Our slip is made here in Georgia and has terrific, consistent quality.) The slip is absorbed into the plaster mold after about 25 minutes ...then poured out. The plaster mold is left to dry for about an hour. 

This results in what is called "green ware" which is later removed from mold when hard enough. The Dove Ceramic Water Fountain being constructed in this photo includes quite a few separate molds... the pouring jug,the bowl,pedestal and doves etc.

After the "green ware" has dried in the plaster mold, it is carefully removed and set aside to dry. The fountain bowl is then leveled and and allowed to cure for before cleaning.



The ceramic water fountain is now dry and ready to clean. All mold lines are carefully cleaned with a razor sharp knife. The fountain is then sponged with water and made smooth... then set aside to dry.  

"This is a very time consuming, dirty and dusty process. One slip of the hand and brittle green ware shatters. Actually... the whole process of making a ceramic fountain is fragile.

You really have to love making pottery to deal with the daily work hassles. (Or totally nuts...) Some of our larger ceramic molds weigh over 350 pounds when full of liquid clay! 

Next the doves are removed from the plaster mold. The wings are attached with liquid clay. They are then cleaned and set aside to dry. Soon they will be ready to be attached to the fountain bowl.


Later... two doves are added to the water fountain bowl with a liquid "clay slip." The fountain is set aside to dry again. Click Here To Discover How To Find The Perfect Ceramic Water Fountain

 

The water fountain bowl is now ready to be textured. A "special textured clay" is thinly applied to the surface of the fountain to create a weathered stone look.The fountain bowl is set aside to dry again.

Next... the fountain pouring jug is ready to be textured. After the texture media is applied, the jug is set aside to dry.



In a couple of days the "green ware" will dry and go into the ceramic oven to be cook for the first time.

The ceramic water fountains are placed in the kiln to be fired (cooked) at over 1800 degrees. This turns the green ware into a solid clay body called bisque. Once the ceramic kiln is packed full of green ware the lid is closed. The oven lid is closed. The water fountains will cook for over 8 hours and then cool down for another day.

The hardened "bisque ware" is cooled down and ready to be unloadedAnd believe it or not... we're just getting started on making this ceramic water fountain!

Click Here To Discover How To Find The Perfect Ceramic Water Fountain

 



This one looks good even before getting glazed! Each fountain is carefully inspected and any warped or cracked bowls will be discarded. All sharp edges will be sanded and cleaned, and sponged. It is now ready for the next step.

Next... let's take a look at how a ceramic fountain is glazed.... Three coats of glaze are carefully applied to the outside of each water fountain. The inside of the dove ceramic water fountain has two separate glazes. One slip of the hand during this process can totally ruin the fountain. Don't let the colour of the glaze fool you. The fountain will look totally different after it is fired!

After the fountains dry they are carefully loaded back into the large oval kiln for a second firing. They will then be cooked at a slightly lower temperature this time for 6-7 hours. This kiln holds a lot of fountains!They will then have to cool down for another 24-36 hours before they are unloaded.

The kiln has cooled down so now comes the fun part... lets open the oven and take a sneak peek at the ceramic water fountains. Careful now... cause one clumsy bump of the hand can cause the shelves to crash down and shatter all the pottery. Talk about a real bummer... 




Each fountain is unique. They all vary slightly and yes they may have slight imperfections... but that's part of the beauty of handmade pottery. 

"No two ceramic fountains ever look the same.... although we do create a consistent overall look. It's amazing that we have very few customers complain... so I guess we're doing something right." comments Tim Christian Miller. 

Next we add a pump, tubing, polished river stones and some water... Now it's time to test it. Each fountain is filled with water and checked for leaks etc. before being boxed for shipping. Below is a picture of the completed dove water fountain. The pouring jug is slightly tilted to make a wonderful, soothing sound. The two doves peacefully stare as the water trickles over the polished river stones.

Here's the completed Dove Ceramic Water Fountain. What do you think?

Wow... it's come a long way from the original sketch! "This is a perfect little water fountain for wild bird lovers. It fits into small spaces, it's sounds fantastic and creates a peaceful tranquil feeling. It's original and artisan crafted here in Atlanta, Georgia." comments Tim Christian Miller.

Scroll down to view a close up of the ceramic water fountain. This will give you a closer view of the pouring jug. You can adjust the fountain pump to create different sound effects.

Here's the closeup of the finished dove ceramic water fountain. The dove fountains will be carefully boxed for shipping and hopefully create many happy customers. (Whew... I told you there was a lot involved in making a water fountain!) Click here to See lots of different and colorful fountains.



Click here to visit the Dove Ceramic Water Fountain page.

Click Here To Discover How To Find The Perfect Ceramic Water Fountain

Clay Artisan - Tim Christian Miller "Discover Beautiful, U.S.A. Ceramic Water Fountains... Hand Crafted To Last A Lifetime!"

What did you think about "How A Ceramic Water Fountain Is Made?"
 Great article ... I would consider buying a ceramic water fountain
 Good article... I learned a lot
 Good article... but way too long
 I didn't enjoy the article at all

To view full motion videos of our ceramic water fountains please click: www.clayartisan.com

To watch an instant slide/video tour of our entire line of our ceramic water fountains click the link below:


http://clayartisan.com/ceramic-water-fountains-video.html


Click here to view our new, small space fountains

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