I love the way ceramics doesn’t have a right or wrong, just a more or less likely to succeed. Anything you can imagine can become real, you just have to figure out how to bring it into the real world.
Thanks to the Great Pottery Throw Down, there is now a description for what I am, I am a home potter. I do it because I love all the demands it places on me. The focus when using my kick wheel to throw and trim pots. The anticipation of planning the glazes and their development in each firing. Working out which glaze would look best on which pot. How its going to flow, where the glaze will drip from, and what it will drip on to.
And then, after the firing there is opening the kiln. Results are always mixed, always at least one thing doesn’t work, hopefully some things will be fantastic, and for other items, I have to give up on what I hoped for and come to recognise what I have received.
Both these bowls exhibit a darker background colour where the glaze is pooling. I am currently looking at a different form which will take advantage of this effect with another glaze.
From left to right, commonly, the base of a crystalline piece has to be flat, that’s where it gets glued to its stilt, excess glaze runs from it in the firing and it is ground clean after firing. But I wanted to see what happens when the base isn’t flat, when the glaze is allowed to drip naturally, and the work can lift itself from its surface.
Crystalline glazes sometimes mix sufficiently with the clay body used for the work to alter the way the glaze presents. These 4 tests were glazed with the same glaze, fired in the same firing, but are on 4 different clay bodies. This has altered the secondary crystals, background colour and opacity and the frequency and distribution of the crystals. I fire tests propped up right so I can also see how much the glaze runs.
The technique for obtaining a red background was outlined in one of the first books I read on the subject. But crystalline glazes famously don’t "travel well". What works in one kiln, with that potter’s clay, application method and firing schedule may not work at all in the hands of another potter. Even the tap water can make a difference. The below tests are 3 years of dogged trials, until finally this year it came right. Now I could either test out all the colouring oxide combinations I can think of, or go back to the many almost worked glazes and see if, with just a little more tweaking they will work now.