Welcome to Idea-kiln. My mother made ceramics when I was young. She had dozens if not hundreds of plaster molds that she would pour “mud” or “slip” into. As the moisture would leach out of the slip into the mold, it would become thick and create the jar or frame or whatever decor item she was trying to make. She would pour out the remaining liquid slip and after a time, release the fragile item from the mold. Next it would dry and would be in a ‘green’ state.
When the item was completely dry (and extremely fragile,) she would put it into the kiln for the first firing. After this process, she called the item had become bisque instead of green. It could now be handled by a 7 yr old boy for painting.
When painting a fragile creation, the colors looked flat and very unattractive. I could not see the finished product with my eyes, I had to envision with my imagination. When I had finished painting, mother would have me put on a coat of ‘glaze.’ This was a very thin, translucent aqua blue liquid that would dry on top of the paint. It made my hard work look even worse than it did before. After another day of thorough drying, mom would gather all of the fragile pieces and stack them in the kiln with layers and levels of ‘racks’ for all the work. An 8 hour, almost 1400 degree oven was about to do some magic.
When the firing was done, you had to wait a couple of days for the ceramic to cool. Finally, you got to see what you had accomplished. A beautiful cup or ashtray. And we didn’t have a smoker in the whole family.