Wednesday, June 28, 2017


When I first tried my hand at majolica glazes back in the very early 90s  I spent some time at the library where I came across a book by Alan Caiger-Smith entitled, LUSTRE POTTERY (1985) and I decided to try my hand at reduction lustres. I had some reasonable success with the actual surfaces and lustres though the pots weren't very good and the decoration left something to be desired but I was achieving the effects that I was after. Simply put my biggest problem with working out this technique was that I couldn't get anyone else interested in reduction firing their terra cotta majolica pots so I had to fill a 40 cubic foot kiln all by myself just to run my tests, it was a rough, hot summer. I finally decided that what I needed to do was to take the same principles and apply it to cone 9/10 firings as the testing would go much quickly considering I was firing up to four glaze firings a week. Over time I was able to adapt the reduction lustres idea to high fire and used Shino glazes as the bases to work on.

I got to thinking about the lustres while having an email exchange recently and went looking for any slides/ photos of the Shino and lustre pots and after looking through quite a few slides realized I had neither photographic or actual examples of the work. After thinking about this for some time I remembered that I had put away a single teabowl I had made while working at Wesleyan Potters, one of maybe a dozen or so that I had glazed in my old Shino glaze and used an ochre and iron luster on. The bowl illustrated is the only lustre and Shino bowl that I have left and though at first glance the surface looks like it is just decorated in a caramel toned overglaze, as the bowl moves about the iridescent lustre pops and is high lighted by the differing light sources. You can see little glimpses of the lustre effect in the overall teabowl shot but it is more apparent in the close up detail photo and perhaps with time my photographic skills may get a bit better at capturing the surface to give a fuller account of just how playful the surface really is.