More about 'In Glaze Lustre'

Fiona's glaze journey

My glaze journey started at George Young's pottery in St Andrews - he glaze fired in a gas kiln, so used glazes that worked well in reduction (this is where the kiln is given insufficient oxygen to burn so takes the oxygen out of the glaze and in high fired reduction changes how the clay looks too). To this day I still love a Tenmoku glazed piece. I then moved to a different potter in St Andrews - Anne Lightwood and started working with coloured clays in layers - no glaze needed - except when coloured clays were being used as slips and then it was just clear glaze. The example show below on the right is made with layers of clay that have been coloured - we called it Millefiori then, but now it would probably be known by its Japanese name Nerikomi or Neriage - I still use this technique on some pieces today.

Fast forward to third year at DOJCA in Dundee - I was already getting a bit of a reputation as a passionate glaze explorer - well there was the opportunity to mix any glaze I wanted and I tested masses, but in third year my technician Paul Spence and I had a informal chat about making In Glaze Reduction Lustre - he used Clay Paste lustre on some of his pieces. He said it was easy - well the theory was but the reality was a lot harder - pre internet and with only Margory Clinton's book to guide me it took quite a few attempts in one of the gas kilns in Dundee to get glimmers of what might be. But, I was hooked not just on clay but making shiny sparkly ceramics.....

All glazes are fascinating especially the ones you create yourself - I now wish I could magic myself back to my Chemistry class at Sexey's Grammar School (yes it really was called that) and ask questions of my teacher but that won't happen so I take meticulous notes and continually try new ideas. It's hard to explain to non potters just how different things look - basically at the raw glaze stage I have a variety of mostly grey looking glazes which are then fired in an electric kiln, changing them again. After they have had their third firing in the gas kiln the lustre magic has happened as the two photos below show

I know that I will often fail but the magic is there - the rainbow bowl shown below was from the first batch that turned out like that (I wish I had kept them all - but you have to eat!). I thought I was finally in control but it took me probably another 5 years to be able to reproduce them reasonably regularly and even now the Watergaw effect does not always happen - it's just magic from one glaze!

1st Rainbow in glaze lustre bowl

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