Care and Use of Stoneware Pottery

Our pottery is “cooked” in a kiln at over 2300 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is therefore known as “stoneware” as opposed to earthenware.  The rules below apply to our stoneware and can be used as general guidelines for most other folks’ stoneware pottery as well.

  • I always suggest washing any new piece of pottery before you use it the first time.  If you got it at a festival, it has “fair” on it, and no one wants that.
  • All of our stoneware is dishwasher safe.  I would suggest putting it on the top rack and ensuring that it won’t clink around against other things.  That being said, I am pretty hard on our stuff here at home and it seems to survive.  Anything that is very large or fancy, I suggest hand-washing just to be on the safe side.
  • All of our stoneware is microwave safe.  Robert is especially known for regularly nuking a cold cup of tea.
  • Our baking dishes (bread bakers, pie dishes, casseroles, etc) are oven safe.  The proper way to cook with handmade stoneware is to put the food in the dish and then put food + dish in a COLD oven.  Preheat the oven with the dish in it.  Please do not shock your stoneware by thrusting it cold and unsuspecting into a pipping hot oven or by cramming it into the refrigerator when it is toasty.  It will be very angry with you indeed.
  • Do not use stoneware on the stovetop.  They are not designed to take continuous heat from the range eye.
  • Over time, some glazes (both handmade and commercial) may form a network of hairline cracks in their surface which is especially revealed by tea and coffee staining.  Think about your Grandmother’s porcelain teacups or ancient Chinese chawan.  With typical washing (especially if using a dish washer), these should pose no problem.  However, if you find them to be unsightly, simply put a teaspoon of bleach in your cup and fill it with water.  This will remove the staining but not the cracks.  Of course, thoroughly rinse out the bleach before you use it next.

Your pottery should be with you for a very long time.  Archaeologists dig pottery from tombs and caves on a regular basis, so you are contributing to some of the most reusable and sustainable utensils available!



5 thoughts on “Care and Use of Stoneware Pottery”

  1. When my mother in law passed away,I found in her cupboard a beautiful blue chip and dip bowl.I love it and use it all the time. It is signed (both pieces) woodward and was curious to know if this is one of your pieces.
    Thank you
    Kathy amos

    • Hi Kathy, It can’t be one of ours, since we’ve only been producing for sale for a few years. I’d love to see a picture of it and the signature though. There aren’t many Woodwards out there and finding another potter with the same name is weird! If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, please email me a pic,
      Thanks!!! -Emily

  2. Ginger Williams said:

    At an Estate sale this last weekend, we came across a pottery dinner setting for 10. Plates, saucers, cups, bowls. They’re so beautiful and looks to be professionaly hand made. Bought them without looking for a signature which they don’t have. Not a problem but are they safe for eating off of? How about dishwasher? Appreciate any info you can give me.
    Thank you,

    • Lucky You!!! I can’t say for certain without seeing them. Feel free to send us a picture at If they came from an estate sale, they have likely been used for a long time. That being said, it’s important to distinguish between stoneware and earthenware. Stoneware is fired to a higher temperature than earthenware and is no longer porous. On the underside, where the plates aren’t glazed, place a drop of water on the clay and see if it gets absorbed (like terra cotta). If it does, then it’s likely earthenware and some people would be more worried about using it than if it was stoneware which won’t absorb the water. This has more to do with the chemistry of the glazes used in earthenware versus stoneware rather than the porosity. As potters, I have to say that we aren’t too worried about using most handmade pottery regardless. If is very damaged, very matte or rough in texture, or looks excessively pitted, it might be wise to limit its use.

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