Friday, March 14, 2014

A few new pots and a few new glazes

 I've been working on some new forms--bowls, vases, platters--and have been thinking of how to glaze them.  I've glazed & fired a few in the shiny glazes I'm using these days for my utilitarian work, but these pieces demand something different--maybe some texture, matt surfaces...

I've always loved salt and ash glaze surfaces, but living in the city and firing with an electric kiln doesn't allow for those options.  When we worked in a clay swamp in Uganda at a training institute, I fired the pots I made in the bottleneck kiln we constructed with the students' help and since we had no glazes, we threw salt into the kiln during the firing.  It gave beautiful flashes of sheen to the warm colours the clay acquired in the wood firing. I've never had the opportunity to work with salt fire glazes, but love the results. Some day, I'd like to work with salt.

Today though, pursuing the ash option seems more possible.  Fortunately other potters, far more clever than I, have developed fake ash glazes which produce those fluid, pebbly surfaces that are typical of true ash glazes--and they have the bonus of not running off the pot so much and wrecking kiln shelves!  I tried a couple of fake ash glazes on these bowls in combination with a lovely red/gold glaze (on the bottom of the pot, just in case the fake ash did run...)

 This bowl has a fake ash glaze (with red iron oxide and yellow ochre as colourants) applied around the rim to the handles.  The red/gold glaze is applied to the bottom half of the bowl.

And this one has a fake ash glaze (with cobalt oxide) applied to the rim and upper half and that same reddish glaze on the bottom.

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