Sunday, May 07, 2006

U Need This

Julie and I were cleaning our bedroom. I have a short bookcase crammed full of books of interest, and folders, notebooks, and files containing old projects.

While sorting through the loose-leaf pages torn out of old notebooks (usually to start a new project in the book, or to give Stephanie something to draw in while we are traveling, I ran across a piece of paper with the heading "U Need This!".

Typically, I don't use exclamation marks in taking notes to myself. Nothing recorded on a scrap of paper is simultaneously that important or urgent, and then stuffed onto a bookshelf for a few years. I hardly use them in my emails or any of my writings at work either.

There were two sections of notes on the page. One had the following list:

Chamber of Horrors
Chamber(pot) of Horrors
Chamber of Whores

This would be ideas for a pottery piece.

The second section of notes had the following:

Ceramic Tests and Calculation, by A. I. Andrews, PhD
John Wiley & Sons, New York^2, 1928

Professor of Ceramic Engineering,
University of Illinois

It took me a bit to place the note. Back in 1992 or '93, I went to the Rookwood exhibit at the Cincinnati art museum. They had examples of an amber glaze on a red clay body, called "Tiger's Eye", which was a crystalline shimmering beneath the surface of the glaze. It was a glaze effect that only happened serendipitously. Sometimes, the effect would be less, and was called Goldstone. The pieces were coal fired in saggars inside of giant bottle shaped kiln.

I've had lunch in the kilns on two separate occasions, since the old factory has been converted to a restaurant.

At the time, I tried to hunt down anything I could find about the glaze. This was by checking the periodical guide to literature at the Marietta Public Library, and reading articles about the Rookwood pottery. Somewhere, I found a reference to this book, in which the author supposedly speculated on the cause of the "Tiger's Eye" effect.

Today, I did a few web searches, and found a copy of the book at Powell's for $3.75. Its not a first edition, but the copyright date is still 1928, so I am hoping that the reference to Tiger's Eye is still included.


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