There is that saying, you'll always remember your first and after this weekend, I admit, it is undeniably true. This past weekend I was looking through several boxes that had been packed since all the way back to our move from Cleveland. I was looking for some elephant ear sponges when I came across a bowl well wrapped up in sheets of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Inside was the very first glaze test I had made dating back to 1989 while at Plattsburgh State. Not really knowing any better, I went to the library and using a formula from a ceramics book from 1948(?) with a few suggestions from Bill Klock, I made up 2000grams of a glaze I had no clue would work or even what the temperature range was. I glazed three pieces of which this shallow teabowl is one and loaded them in to the kiln which was a cone 9/10 firing.
Once the kiln cooled down sufficiently, I snuck out my tests like a thief in the night and was beyond surprised; the glaze worked but looked entirely different on each piece depending where it was in the kiln. This bowl was fired near the cone pack where the kiln had reached a soft ten and as one can tell, the glaze was beginning to decide to be on the shelf rather than the pot. Being the first of many thousands of tests, I thought that this was going to be easy if everything works like this each and every time but I was about to learn a myriad of things from "the first". I took the time to bask in the momentary success of glaze testing marveling at the wonderful fat glaze rolls, ethereal texture and color and the sheer fact that a handful of chemicals mixed about with water achieved what at the time I thought looked a bit like a "museum" glaze on a terribly bad teabowl. The gauntlet had been thrown down and I was on the road of testing, forever etched in my being, I am amazed that that simple memory and experience is as fresh today as it was 25 years ago, time surely flies.
Cat Stevens; ON THE ROAD TO FIND OUT (1971)