Every single piece of Clare’s collection is made by Clare herself at her Chesterfield studio. From hand weaving the fabrics to creating the bespoke moulds to glazing and firing and hand finishing each piece personally and making each one unique.
Understanding the 10-stage process Clare undertakes to create every piece in her collection, inspires love and awe. A single cup can take up to 10 days to create.
Clare firstly creates a fabric version of a cup. She hand weaves the fabric using her handloom. Up to four different fabric designs can be used to create a cup. Weaving can take up to two days.
2. Sewing a fabric cup
Using multiple different fabrics, Clare sews together a cup. This becomes part of the model from which a plaster cast is made.
3. Making a model
Once sewn together, Clare creates a model using the fabric cup and plaster to form a solid model of the cup.
4. Plaster mould
A mould is made in segments. Plaster is poured carefully around the fabric model and then left to dry. Depending on conditions, drying can take up to six days.
Once the plaster mould is dry casting can begin. Clay is poured into the plaster mould, left for a few minutes and then the excess is drained out, leaving the form of the cup inside the mould. This is then left to dry overnight.
6. Adding the finishing touches
Clare adds the finishing touches to the cups, including applying the individual stitches and handles by hand as well as her signature Clare Gage stamp to the base.
The finished cups are left to dry for up to four days ahead of firing.
8. Bisque firing
Once dry, the cups are then fired in their unglazed state. This is a 6 – 8 hour process and the cups are subjected to 1080⁰c in the kiln. It is so hot that the kiln takes a full day to cool before the cups can be removed.
Once cool, Clare applies a gloss glaze to the inside of her cups. She allows a day for this to dry before applying her signature matt glaze to the outside of the cup to prepare the cup for the final firing.
10. Final glaze firing
The final stage and only 32 hours away from a fully finished cup. The cup is fired in the kiln once again, before being removed and quality checked by Clare herself.
And that is how a Clare Gage cup is made. Although the processes may vary, depending on the piece, Clare’s attention to detail, care, passion and personal involvement is exactly the same for every single item she produces.