Tuesday, 25 August 2009

An Ash-Ash Glazed Vase

I've been digging through my archives, finding old pots, still wrapped in late-eighties newspapers, this one went off with a group of others to a gallery in York, but I changed my mind and took it back off the display. I'm glad I did, finding it, today, in a box in the basement was like finding an old friend.
The glaze is ash. Wood ash. Ash-ash, to be precise.... Near my house, a big ash tree came down in the great storm of 1987, (which was the most severe storm recorded in England since 1703), and though the larger pieces were removed, most of it was burned where it fell.
After the ashes had cooled, I shovelled some up, sifted, washed, dried and stored it, to use as a glaze ingredient. However, I did experiment with using just the ash.
This and about twelve other bottle/vase forms were fired with dry ash sifted over them, (I coated the kiln shelves with a deep coat of batt-wash, to absorb and reduce the damage from any runs, and I fired each pot on top of a plain bisqued clay tile). The ash on some ran excessively, sticking them to the tile, others coped better, this being my favourite.
Some patches of ash, on the shoulders, did not melt and run, leaving a rough, raised patch.

The firing was in an electric kiln, neutral atmosphere, to Orton cone 9, 1280 degrees C.

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  1. looks rather gogeous---you are SO skilled!

  2. she's a beaut... lovely golden color. never fooled much with ash, well, not in glazes anyway. i like how there was a nice graduated effect going on between the drips too. when i was in my remodeling /woodworking phase i made our kitchen cabinets out of ash.

  3. Gary, you're doing really well at this praise stuff, careful, or I'll have to get my head deflated. The cheque will be in the post...

    I like ash trees, except for rhe way in which they're prone to dropping big chunks of tree on your head in storms...
    We just put in a new stairway at work with ash treads, very nice.

    However, fellers, the glaze effects on that pot are not due to any skill, they're products of chance and fire. I just sifted ash on, and hoped for the best.
    Some were okay, a few were very much okay, to my taste, and some... had to be chiselled off the shelf... If I'd posted those, you'd laugh, and think I was an idiot.
    No, I know you wouldn't, because one thing all of us potters have in common is the knowledge that we all get get some failures, some embarrassing disasters.
    It keeps us humble.

  4. I enjoy reading your pottery posts. I wish I knew more about how to do it, but it seems too difficult for my talents. I am in awe of what YOU can do, though, and of the history of the pieces you relate.

    I like ash too.


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