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dinner settings with white shino glaze

“One must have a mind of winter,” said Wallace Stevens, and in the cool white crackle of the shino glaze, above, with that smoky haze settling lightly on the edges of a few forms, I can feel winter’s approach. I was happy to get this last project completed just as snow began settling out by the kiln.

It is encouraging, of course, to feel the very-cold nights & imagine that a prodigious winter is approaching. You look eagerly at your skis, dusty from the long summer.

calcium carbonate in glazes

Limestone, chalk, marble, travertine – as well as pearls, seashells, and kale – these all contain calcium carbonate, a material used enthusiastically by potters all over. Potters usually buy this compound, CaCO3, as Whiting, and add it to stoneware glazes to promote hardness and translucence.

On the left, above, a bottle whose surface was thickly painted with a slip made from a brown clay found in the Chama river valley. Looks good, I thought…but how to make the glaze melt just a little more, and to make it more…dense and translucent? I spooned a little Whiting into the pint container of slip and mixed enthusiastically. The result of the second test is on the right, above – you see that the same clay slip has melted totally, due to the fluxing action of calcium at high temperature, and has become a thin, translucent, greenish glass. I need to go one more round, modifying my enthusiasm just a bit – maybe half the amount of Whiting so that the slip doesn’t loose all its viscosity & run right off the form.

And I’m going to need a larger supply of that Chama clay, too, once I get the formula for the glaze figured out – could be pretty frozen up there at the moment, though.

green river pottery open house december 15 2018

Meanwhile. Here at the gallery, we plan for the eleventh annual Open House – to be held Friday & Saturday, December 14 & 15. As always, terrific amounts of giveaway pots left from various projects throughout the year – as well as beautiful new work and of course doughnuts, packing & shipping, holiday cheer. Please drop by if you’re in town!

pottery class santa fe new mexico

This year the Open House will feature work by student potters & by our two resident potters at the workshop-studio where we do classes. December is a great time to browse this new studio & see what’s happening. Every Thursday morning through the end of the year we’ll have a short workshop that you can sign up for even if you’re not regularly using the studio – drop in to watch the demonstration, or pull up a seat at the wheel & make work too, during the three-hour session.

Topics include: stacking wheel-thrown sections to make bigger forms, slab-building essentials, exploring micaceous clay, developing a design for your wheel-thrown dinner set, combining slab & wheel-thrown elements. In January, we look forward to a workshop on the science of clay – how and where it forms, why it behaves the way it does.

Click here to read more & sign up for one of these little workshop-classes.

Edgar Plastic Kaolin

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice…

Happy Holidays from Green River Pottery. Stay warm!