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Kevala- A Ceramics Production facility- Sanur Bali

May 9, 2013

Over the April holidays I visited Kevala ceramics located in Sanur Bali. Kevala have been producing tableware in Sanur for 20 years. The production facility creates ceramics for  hotel chains both large and small and also restaraunts in Bali and abroad.  Clients can select from standard forms and then choose from over 50 glazes to create a signature range that provides individuality to any hotel or restaurant setting. If the client desires something unique Kevala  designers can create complete  ranges to client specifications. Ranges can also be created from client generated models or drawings.

The  production team utilize multiple production techniques to create the range including the potter’s wheel or slipcasting with plaster moulds. The throwers are very skilled. I witnessed one of the team fashion a dinner plate every 2 mins and 20 sec. Sure the plate still needed turning however the fluid nature and speed of the throwing process was really impressive.


thrower at Venco wheel

The mould makers are also masters of their field. I  watched two mould makers working as a team to create a mould of a vase form with more potential undercuts than a pineapple. The amount of moulds on the production floor is truly staggering and many of the forms are solid cast. This means that the moulds create both the internal and external surface of an item. The slip is poured into the mould and the mould is not emptied until the form has cast solid. Other items are drain cast where the mould is filled, the wall thickness is generated by the time the slip is left in the mould, the mould is then drained and the item sets up. Once leather hard the item is demoulded, dried and the seam lines trimmed prior to a final sponge over.

Complex vase and moulds

Complex vase and moulds

At times a given form within the range might utilize both casting and throwing combined to realize the finished object.

One Mid fire clay is created on site to manufacture the complete range. The clay is produced using the slip method in huge blungers. After screening the claybody slip is then filter pressed until dewatered to throwing consistency. The last stage is to  de-air the plastic clay in the stainless steel Venco pugmill, this adds the final touch prior to bagging and short term storage. A week later the male and female throwers are fashioning the new clay into something amazing. If the clay is needed for casting then the plastic extrusions from the pug are blunged down with addition of water and deflocculent to the required density and fluidity.

Filter press, pugmill, blungers

Filter press, pugmill, blungers

The humidity is high in Bali so one might expect the objects to dry slowly. The facility has several large gas fired trolley kilns which generate more than enough heat to dry out the forms during production. The trolley or “car kilns” are lined with low thermal mass ceramic fibre. The low thermal mass means that these huge kilns can be fired one day and unpacked the next morning. One kiln car is rolled out and another kiln car loaded with glazed wares rolled  in for firing.

Trolley /Car kiln

Trolley /Car kiln

A team of fettlers tidy up the work removing any mould seam lines prior to bisque firing. The kiln packers then pack  and fire the wares. As the wares emerge the next day the glazers and decorators step in to dip, pour or spray the glazes onto the bisque fired surfaces. The kilns are re packed and a second firing to cone 7 is completed. Once the firing is complete  the classifiers sort the products into firsts, refires and seconds. Post sorting; the pieces travel to storage or the packing room where the bases are individually inspected and ground. Kevala does not store a great deal of stock. The process is really efficient and the majority of the work is packed within days of being fired and delivered to the client.

Setting cones and bullers rings

Setting cones and bullers rings

It was truly inspiring to witness the energy and efficiency surrounding a skilled production team as they worked toward the production of Kevala ceramics. Each step in the process coming together to create a quality product all the way from concept development to manufacturing, from packing to shipping. 

John Edye suggested that I may be inspired by a visit to Kevala; John was right!


Mould tables

Casting tables and moulds

From → General posts

  1. Elisa Bartels permalink

    Wow wee it all looks amazing! Maybe as your association progress you can take a group of students over for an excursion!

  2. It’s very interesting to read about this place. As well as giving a window into their processes and products, it also shines a light from a different angle on what we’re doing at TAFE and makes me think harder about what I want from my work (you know, apart from being able to throw at ALL!).

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