Friday, June 18, 2010


When I first decided to go and interview the local pottery professor in Plattsburgh, NY (Bill Klock) I stopped at the local used book store and bought the two pottery books they had; FINDING ONE’S WAY IN CLAY (1972) by Paulus Berensohn and MAKING POTTERY WITHOUT A WHEEL (1965) by F. Carlton Ball and Janice Lovoos. Though neither gave me any insight into wheel throwing, both we very illuminating as to the scope and possibilities of clay.

The other day, I was tooling around and stumbled on the MAKING POTTERY WITHOUT A WHEEL book and have to admit, I was somewhat surprised at one of the reviews of the book. It pointed out that the glaze section of the book was severely outdated. Not to sound argumentative, but how can any glazes, that work, be outdated.

I have been using several formulas, mostly that I have altered a bit, from this book for 20 years. What worked when the book came out in 1965, works today. In fact, one of the nicest blue-green celadons I have ever used came from this source and I continue to use it now and again some 45 years after it was published. Here is the formula exactly as it is in the book;

Choy Blue Celadon Cone10 (weight in grams)
Feldspar 1226
Whiting 150
Flint 496
Kaolin 96
Barium Carbonate 400
Red Iron Oxide 50

I have also illustrated the glaze on two teabowls I have made. The first one shows the glaze right out of the book. The pale yellow-green version was just tweaked a bit. Though most of my glazes started out as book glazes, most have been so altered that they bare little resemblance to the original formulas, but this Choy Blue Celadon is great, as is and I love this glaze and think it is absolutely timeless, many thanks to Ball and Lovoos!

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