Sunday, October 10, 2010
I know it has been a few weeks since I visited Monroe Salt Works here in Monroe, Maine. The temperatures were much warmer then and the leaves still green! Sometimes, things just take a little while to work into the schedule! But it was such an amazing and educational experience!
I have posted lots of pictures on Facebook and anyone can check them out by clicking here!
The good people at Monroe Salt Works produce the best salt glazed stoneware in the world and are recognized throughout North America and worldwide, as far away as Japan, for their outstanding quality and style. The pottery is highly durable and is safe for the table, dishwasher, microwave, and even the REAL oven! No lead is used in their pottery or paint and its durability makes it great to use everyday.
I like to call the place where it is produced their studio. When I say factory, you think of mass production and such, but Monroe Salt Works is far, far from being mass produced! Their goodies are made in the rolling hills of mid coast Maine, close to Penobscot Bay, on a dirt road even! They are surrounded by wild life and nature and if you look at their designs, you can see that each piece is influenced tremendously because of it!
Monroe Salt Works started in 1971 and for the past four decades, these artisans have been shaping and molding and firing and painting each piece by hand! Salt glazed pottery has been around for centuries, being developed in Germany in the 15th century. Wow! That is a long time ago! At Monroe Salt Works, they use most of the same techniques used way back then!
I could try to explain it but here is a quote directly from them about the creation process. "We load green (unfired) pottery into a large, walk in, hard brick Kiln. After loading, the fire begins very slowly. Over the next 20 hours, the fire builds and the temperature reaches 2300 F. Now the action really starts as we throw handfuls of salt into the roaring blaze. When the salt hits the white hot fire, it is immediately vaporized, the salt vapor combines with the firing pottery to create our pottery's unique and distinct glaze. There are always surface and color variations in the pieces from a salt glaze kiln. Some pieces receive large amounts of salt vapor and others little. The color and texture of each piece vary according to where the piece was in the kiln. It is this variation that makes a body of salt glazed pottery so rich and compelling. There are light pots and dark pot and dimpled pots and smooth pots. You can see the mark of the firing on each piece. No two pieces are ever alike. Each piece has its own character." That sounds just like moose! Each one has his own character!
During my visit there, I got to see how each piece is designed from a lump of clay to a beautifully finished piece. Each piece is handle by no less than 18 pairs of hands! They are molded, shaped, painted, trimmed, fired, checked, and so much more. Every part of the process is done right there in Monroe, Maine - nowhere else! It is designed with beauty in mind to admire it daily, but it is also made with durability in mind to be used daily!
I have started my own collection and I have more than just moose because it is difficult to decide which design I like best! They have a moose design, bears, pine trees, dragonflies, chickadees, cardinals, oak leaves and acorns, maple leaves, horses, buffalo, cattails, pine cones, black dog, crows, frogs, hummingbirds, loons, iris, roosters, and a few more even!
Want to buy a piece or two or three or four or more? By mentioning this blog, every time you make a purchase, we'll give you a deal! The deal is, buy one piece at regular price and get the second one of equal or lesser value at half price! Get that collection that you always wanted that will be with you for a life time and more!
Don't forget, check out all the pictures of my visit by clicking here!
I definitely give this pottery a two hooves up!