In our 24 years of pot-making at Ephraim, we have developed a specialized lingo. While we like to think we made up some of the words, others come from the niche realm of ceramics. We thought it would be fun to take a moment to define for you some of these ‘Ephraim words’ we use around the studio.

noun : a physical example of a design kept in the studio as a point of comparison

We house around 1000 archives in our studio. Each time we design a piece to put into production we retain an archive – because when you make pottery by hand, there can be a natural tendency to deviate from the original design as time passes.

noun : china that is not glazed but is hard-fired and vitreous

Every piece goes through a bisque-firing as well as at least one glaze-firing. We try to keep stock of many of our popular designs “in bisque,” so if you order a piece and need it quickly, we are sometimes able to expedite it through glazing if it already exists in bisque-form.

dialectal : askew, awry, unbalanced

This is a Kevin word for anything (lid, pot, tile) that is not quite straight. Sometimes when pieces dry unevenly they become “catawampus.”

verb : to produce minute cracks on the surface or glaze of

We developed our glazes to purposely craze. We dip them in a contrasting color wash and fire them again to enhance the effect.

verb : to apply a layer of glaze after an initial glaze firing that imparts a patina or texture upon a second glaze firing

Popular glaze combinations like Organic Green, Algae and Dusky Olive all have a curdled patina glaze applied.

noun : a piece that is created for the purpose of experimentation or in exploration of new technique

We generally create between 200 and 500 “experimental” vases each year as a by-product of our product development. These pieces are marked on the bottom with an “E” stamp.

adjective : pottery that has a practical purpose or utility; primarily for use with food and beverages

Our new line of tableware is functional. These pieces are fired to a higher temperature, allowing them to hold liquids. Whereas, our art pottery is fired to a lower temperature to create dynamic glaze effects and is intended as an object of art.

noun : one who applies glaze to pots

Not to be confused with a popular Wisconsin gas station donut.

verb : to remove glaze drips on the foot of a pot through friction

Because our glazes flow in the kiln, we grind the foot of each and every vase to knock off the drips and level it. Our glazes are unique and beautiful due to this flow, so it is a tradeoff that we embrace.

verb : to make a sharp sound like that of a bell

When our pots craze they make a distinct ‘pinging’ sound. This sound diminishes over time as the crazing stops and the glaze adjusts to the clay body. Don’t be alarmed – this is completely normal!

verb, adjective : to withdraw from production; a piece that has been withdrawn from production

Each year we choose a handful of pieces to retire from production in order to make room for new designs. We also will retire a piece when we have made 500 of that particular design.