Wednesday, January 26, 2011


As I sit down to write this, I am reminded of those “old days” stories. “When I was young, I had to get up a half hour before I went to bed, walk 20 miles through 6 feet of snow in a blinding snow storm before getting to work and working for 20 hours, and I felt lucky …………” That being said, this is not exactly like that.

I remember when I first started making pots, there were stories about all the extinct materials and how ceramics was a different beast now. I listened, politely, and in the back of my mind there was always this thought, but you have ceramic grade spodumene and Albany Slip, what else could you ask for. Then in 1992 or 1993, the well ran dry first on the Albany Slip and then the ceramic grade Foote Minerals spodumene.

In certain respects, I was lucky and saw the proverbial writing on the wall. I squirreled away as much of both as I could get my hands on, a supply that has lasted to this day. Now I must admit, the storehouse is barren and the days of great Shino and various Albany Slip glazes are almost at an end. I have substitutes for most, though they are not quite as lively and rich, but as the supplies dwindle, it is time to move on. Acknowledge and move on.

I now understand all those tales of lament regarding previous extinct materials. At a certain level you become somewhat accustomed to using specific glazes as part of your visual glossary and then you need to find new surfaces to articulate your pots. My lepidolite Oribe is another example of those bygone glazes, but as you look at truly great Albany Slip, spodumene and lepidolite glazes, you see there really is something that we will all sorely miss………….

Illustrated is one of my stoneware teabowls with Albany Slip glaze over a bisque slip.