The process of creating vessels out of clay has many stages, and many opportunities for creative shape, surface design, and color. Initially the clay is wedged or kneaded, to make it uniform and free of air bubbles. Then it is thrown, or shaped, on a wheel. When it dries to a leather-hard consistency, the bottom is trimmed and accessories like handles are attached. Surface designs are often carved into a dipped colored-clay layer called slip. The piece is kiln-fired, and then glaze is either poured on or the piece is dipped. Cleaning off the surfaces that touch the kiln floor is next, and the piece is fired again to create a finished product.
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