I talk a lot about the process of exploring and discovering in my work. Indeed, my MFA Thesis Show was all about giving a full context of how I go about adventuring, prospecting, developing, and ultimately making pots from the stuff I find.
I love the idea of being an alchemist – and I describe myself as someone who uses mineralogy, chemistry, and fire to forge beautiful objects and glazes. But I have to admit that more than anything, discovering the really compelling stuff is mostly a matter of luck, circumstance, and time. It’s very labor intensive, and I’d guess that for every 10 rocks I bring into the studio, it’s usually only one or two that have any real practical value in my work. I suppose that given enough time and enough firings, one could utilize just about anything under the sun… but in the real world there’s just never enough time – or test tiles!
Collected and Melted Materials from near Red Lodge, MT
So these glazes were my second attempt at iridescent surfaces. I tried some copper, upped the manganese in several glazes, and also tried granular manganese, granular magnetite, and granular ilmenite. The Fake Mashiko turned out really nice, not at all iridescent, but nice.
One thing to note is the all of the tiles on the left were from firing #38, which was a small test gas kiln. It wasn’t a very good firing to say the least. The tiles on the right were from firing #40, which was an extremely long, extremely hot firing. The schedule was something like 4 hours between cone 7-8, then about 5 hours between 9-10, an hour to cone 11, and another 2 hour soak around cone 12. Pretty extreme for a gas kiln, I think. On the other hand, that’s nothing compared to some Anagama firing schedules.