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Caring for your Handmade Ceramic Pots

One of the questions we are asked most at shows is if our pottery can be put in dishwashers and microwaves. We have not been doing this for 30 years so we can't tell you that your pots will last your lifetime with regular use in your dishwashers and microwaves, but we can tell you that we use our pots daily in both.

Here's what we recommend:

MICROWAVE SAFETY

(Don't try to cook your bacon on a ceramic plate! I don't eat bacon, but this is the only time I've ever seen plates break into two pieces and I really advise against it whether your plates are mass produced or handmade. )

Don't reheat leftovers straight from the fridge, especially not if the ceramic pot was also in the fridge, but even if you are transferring it to ceramics for heating, be careful about heating cold tempeture foods.

WHY?

The reason for this is Thermal Shock, which is something ceramicists and potters learn very quickly when they make mistakes unloading a kiln too soon and find their pots cracked later. Pots can withstand very high temperatures (ours our fired anywhere from 2250 F to around 2400 F), but many clay bodies are not able to hold up to constant rapid expansion and contraction.

BOILING WATER SAFETY

Yes, we use our cups for coffee and tea every single day!

The proper way to make tea or coffee, when using a ceramic cup or teapot, is to boil water and add a small amount to each ceramic pot so you can swirl it around the bottom and the walls of the pot before filling the whole pot with hot liquid. The reason is the same as above, Thermal Shock.

DISHWASHER SAFETY

Dishwasher safety is simple enough: Load carefully and spaciously. Our general rule is that if it doesn't fit safely, we will just start the washer and handwash the items that don't fit. We have a few pots from other potters that we don't ever put in the dishwasher, but our everyday mugs and plates we do.

OUR CONCLUSION : BE CAREFUL, BUT USE & ENJOY YOUR POTS!!

Remember, pottery can be expensive, but more importantly, it is priceless in many instances. For some firing methods, pots can't ever be recreated exactly the same. Logan and I buy pots for their beauty and as a piece of the person who made it and the memories we have with them.

Be careful with your pots, but use them and find a way to make your pots fit into your routine, even if that means, you need to rethink the care you have when loading the dishwasher and preparing food and drinks. I would rather break a few pots than never know the joy of using them. It's part of the package and some artist has thought very carefully about how each pot would be interacted with in its life of use.

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