Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Glaze Search

I was searching for raku glaze recipes last night.

Julie and I want to use Seth's Luster (got it), a white crackle (will probably use the one I have from Spruill Center), but are open to whatever we run across.

Back in Atlanta, there was a gallery (The Gifted Hand?) that had works by a potter who had broken vases into pieces, glazed and fired each piece, and then glued the pieces back together for the finished vase, creating a patchwork quilt effect.

Very cool.

One of the shards caught my eye (and has stayed with me for the last twelve years), where the glaze had crawled on the surface of the shard, forming little beads on an unglazed surface. Betwixt the beads of glaze, were little dotted lines that were pinpoints of glaze, that bounded the region of clay surface that the beads pulled back from in the firing. The glaze was a glossy black, the unglazed surface was matte black, and the overall effect was of cells with a black nucleus and cell walls.

Resetting the Wayback to last night, I encountered a website where the author talked glazes, sold compendiums of glaze recipes, and provided an answer column for raku potters. Someone inquired about a similar glaze to the one I recall, and the potter provided not one, but two glazes, each with its own name.

Needless to say, I was excited. I decided to copy down both recipes, thinking that I'd study the glaze chemistry, and figure out how they work.

In about thiry seconds, I realized that both recipes had the exact same ingredient lists, but in different order. Okay.

Then I looked at the ratios of chemicals in each recipe, and pairs of chemicals lined up in both recipes with the same ratio (but not the same number).

It turns out that both of the recipes are for the exact same glaze composition, but for different amounts of glaze.

Question: How does someone think that they have two recipes, when they really only have one? Answer: When they didn't originate either one.

I poked around a bit longer on the net, and discovered another website, which contained a list of raku glaze recipes compiled by Dewitt Gimblet in 1998. A comparison of the Gimblet list and the one sold by the other website popped up too many matches in glaze names and compositions to be a coincidence. The Gimblet list contained only one recipe for a beading raku glaze, but seems to be the main source.

I would feel better if the same attributions that the Gimblet list provides for the original source of each recipe had been carried forward into the list available for purchase on-line.


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