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Patricia Oetken

Glazing a mortar and pestle

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I have a student who made mortar and pestles using stoneware, and I am stumped on how to guide her to glazing the pestle.  We are not allowed to use stilts in our studio.  I suggested making a drip tray so she can stand it on end, but I'm not sure how to make sure the pestle stem does not touch the wall.  Everything I've read says these should be made from porcelain and leave the grinding end unglazed.  I'm concerned that the pestle will not be food safe if left raw.  any ideas?

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I think as long as the clay is fired to maturity and has the lowest porosity you can manage, it should be ok. After all, they sell mortar and pestle sets that are made from stone or volcanic rock that are likely more porous than mature clay. If you're grinding things, they work better if they're not a glassy glazed surface. 

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I'd leave the grinding areas of both the mortar and pestle unglazed.  If you want to glaze part of the pestle, you might be able to use wadding on the unglazed areas since you can't use stilts.  Just make sure the wadding isn't touching any glaze. 

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