The Magic and the Mystery of Glazes
ThereHow to make that wall of buckets of powders into a surface that makes you gasp with wonder? The snide answer…science! The real answer…years of testing, analysis, and repeated failures until you get it right. I’m engaged in that process, big time, right now. After 46 years of firing gas reduction kilns to 2380 F, I’ve switched over to oxidation electric kilns firing at 2232 F. What’s the big deal, you may ask. Only 150 F less, and heat is heat. Except it’s not. The chemical process of extracting oxygen atoms from oxides and carbonates to complete the combustion of burning fuels changes colors and textures in ways that are hard to believe. So to switch firing methods and temperatures is slightly akin to learning to breathe in water instead of air for life giving oxygen. A lot of changes need to take place. It is a long and winding road to get there, and one I decided to do to give myself a challenge in my later years, as well as to be a little kinder to the environment (we had access to renewable electric energy in the new studio). But one thing to say, another to do, especially when one wants to make that transition as seamless as possible to the viewing public, without radical changes in color or texture in the glaze surface. I am making strides, although in small steps. It is a voyage of discovery. For the moment, one of my reduction glazed pots is the top image, the oxidation fired pot is the bottom image. Stop back from time to time as I post pics here of the old, and the new. And thanks for taking the time here, right now.
I am a full-time potter working in Rochester, NY. I have been making my living in clay since 1979, and produce a range of stoneware, mostly ash glazed, which is suitable for use on the table and around the house. My work is available to see and purchase in my studio showroom, at galleries and in my Etsy shop. www.richardaernipottery.etsy.com
I am also available for demonstration and hands-on workshops at art centers and schools around the country. I share a cozy home studio with Carolyn Dilcher Stutz, each of us working individually as well as collaboratively. Please feel free to stop in, with appointment, or contact me at any time. Meanwhile, wander the site, sample images and writings from the past forty years. Thanks for visiting! ~Richard Aerni