Producing art is a process for many artists. A potter may look at a piece of clay and suddenly see a vase in its finished form. They see the shape, the colors and the way they are applied. They know, just from looking at their vision, what type of clay and glazes they will use. Their mind will flow further into the process as they see the piece going through its drying process and kiln firings. It is now the job of the artist to make their vision a reality.
Shaping and molding are part of the process of creating a work of art with clay. The artist has already chosen the type of clay they will use and has decided if it will be pottery, ceramic, porcelain or stoneware when they are done. Once shaped and molded to the desired form, the artist must set aside their piece and wait for it to dry. Waiting is often a difficult part of the process as the artist is not actively engaged in creating their vision.
Once the piece has dried, the artist will fire it in a kiln. After cooling, the piece can now be colored. The artist already knows the stain or paint colors they need to match their vision. It is simply a matter of applying them in the pattern of the mind's eye. Glaze is the next step. The artist sees the finish they want and they choose their glaze accordingly.
The final step is firing their piece again. The glaze must partially melt to achieve its final form. Once the heat has done its work, the piece must again cool. After cooling, the artist now has the piece they originally envisioned several weeks ago. They have taken a vision in their mind and translated into a real piece of art.