Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Though I am still in the midsts of throwing, tooling, slipping, bisquing and decorating terra cotta, my mind is constantly wandering back to making some stoneware pots. I am likely to be involved with terra cotta through the middle of October, when inventory sheets and orders are near due, but I am anxious to get back to throwing a clay that is more responsive, more forgiving and easier to manipulate than the red pudding I call my terra cotta. In my last stoneware firing, I had a hand full of pots glazed in my new Iron Yellow glaze and I am eager to continue with that surface and have been working on how best to show it off. It is always somewhat frustrating to have recently developed a new glaze and then just take a 6 to 8 week hiatus from it. Any inroads made, start to fad away and lessons learned concerning glaze application begin to dim a bit. Luckily I take good notes and photos along the way to help jog the memory.

In addition to a new glaze, there is a series of glaze tests I want to proof in an actual firing. That gives me the best and most accurate account of the results. What would another firing be without more glaze tests and even a couple of new forms I have been sketching out recently. New forms also dictate having some understanding of how to address the surfaces. This, as any potter knows, can be a bit tricky as what looks great on one pot is simply an eyesore on another. An excellent example of this is copper red. Back at CSU, I tested and made up a large batch of copper red based on a Tom Coleman recipe. This glaze was made up for the students and because it was RED, everyone decided that every pot should be glazed copper red. Though a few students used the red with discretion and fore-thought, the sheer number of inappropriate red pots that came out of the kiln, forced Dick Schneider to put the kibash on the “copper red experiment”. A good thing to, as it was running off most of the pots!

Illustrated is a tall cylindrical vase glazed in my temmoku and iron red glazes. This pot was in the last stoneware firing and is another typical example of the drippy and runny glazes that I am rather fond of. These styles of glazes certainly owe their inspirations from some of the early 20th century glazes of the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts movements.

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