Claybuddies is a Facebook group that is very important for learning new things, and for getting constructive feedback on pieces.
Recently a photo was posted that asked why a glaze had begun “cracking off”. In a few brief comments I learned to look at glaze in a new light… “Glaze is like trousers.” Imagine that! LOL Here is the fuller comment: “…Glaze is like trousers. Too small for the pot and it splits (crazing) too big and it falls off (shivering).“
I am grateful for the opportunities to learn more… about anything.
Great info, courtesy of Lakeside Pottery regarding Glaze Shivering and Glaze Crazing:
There is a wood-fired kiln is the Jingdezhen Zhen Kiln. According to Wikipedia, “Jingdezhen (or the Town of Jingde) is a prefecture-level city, previously a town, in northeastern Jiangxi province, China, with a total population of 1,554,000 (2007), bordering Anhui to the north. It is known as the “Porcelain Capital” because it has been producing pottery for 1,700 years.”
The largest wood-fire kiln in North America is the Johanna Kiln. According to St. John’s University website on the subject, “…the Johanna Kiln can fire up to 12,000 works of pottery and sculpture. It is named in honor of S. Johanna Becker, OSB and is the largest wood-burning kiln of its kind in North America. The kiln takes at least six weeks to load and is typically fired in the fall.” The website goes on to describe the 3 chambers as such:
“The first chamber is loaded with unglazed pieces and fired to allow for the accumulation of a natural ash glaze surfacing from the wood fuel and firing process. The fire then moves consecutively through all three chambers, or 1,600 cubic feet of interior space, making efficient use of fuel and minimizing waste heat.
The second chamber, or glaze chamber, is loaded with glazed pottery. The chamber is carefully brought up to temperature to allow for special effects such as hair’s fur glaze streaking as part of the extended firing and cooling timeframe. This glaze firing technique is not otherwise obtainable in traditional gas or electric kiln firing practices.
Finally, the unique Tanegashima chamber has eighteen stoking windows in the roof of the kiln. Wood is stoked downwards into the open spaces separating ten rows of kiln shelves and clay works. This creates an environment where large amounts of wood and flame are in continuous contact with the pottery, generating unique flame patterns onto each ceramic surface.
And then there was a YouTube video I watched of someone loading a wood-fire kiln.
This video gave me a whole new appreciation for Master Potter Tim See & all the volunteers who load the wood-fire kiln where my pottery is brought to its completed phase.
This news about a Sotheby’s auction item has allowed me to view my pottery in a new light! Previously I only resonated with the idea of ancient civilizations producing pottery out of necessity to carry their food, drink, possessions, etc. I still resonate strongly with that; however, with this new information of a 900 year old bowl…. my mind has been expanded! Jinkies! 900 Year Old Bowl = $38 Million Dollars
So think about it.. 900 years ago – that’s a L-O-N-G time ago. A skilled potter, perhaps on a sunny day, sat in front of a mound of clay that was gathered nearby, and was cleaned and maybe processed by his own hands. While a whole story can be built around that simple snapshot, we journey further down the timeline to when the potter decided to place THAT glaze on the piece and then placed it in the kiln, which resulted in the cracked glazing effect. According to the CNN article the piece comes from the ‘once-famous kilns of Ruzhou” during China’s Song Dynasty, which is very cool read unto itself. Furthermore, according to the article, and this is so cool, ‘the style of the bowl is known as Ru guanyao or Ru “ice crackle”… and is known for the cracked glaze’s ability to reflect light.’ So thank you ancient potters. Thank you history of mankind. Thank you for enriching and deepening my awareness and appreciation for creation.