State of Flux Exhibition Photos

Big thanks to Alex Thullen and Pewabic Pottery for posting all of these pictures on Facebook!

Galactic Oil Spot Glazes

An interesting view of my most recent round of test glazes. Each Oil Spot variation was dipped in porcelain and red stoneware  with the red stoneware tiles shown. The firing was: 10 hr oxidation to Cone 7, 2hr oxidation slow climb to Cone 8, 3 hr slow climb to cone 10, 1 hour oxidation hold @ cone 10. The results were pretty cool, and under magnification they had just the right amount of galactic goodness. The pictures were taken with a USB digital microscope! Magnification is about 30-40x

For the longest time I’ve wanted to try firing oil spot glazes, and after a bit of research it was pretty satisfying to make it happen. I decided to begin by concentrating on black, single glaze variations – the recipes of which came from a number of sources, mainly John Britt’s ebook and Complete Guide to High Fire glazes, a few from Michael Bailey’s Oriental Glazes, and a couple from Hopper’s The Ceramic Spectrum. The next step is to start zeroing in on some of the more spectacular variations and then start changing up the recipes and the firing schedules for maximum effect. Enjoy!

Rutile, Ilmenite Variations of 1234 Base


Tenmoku Test Tiles – Iron, Rutile, Ilmenite, Earthenware Variants

In an efferot to further explore the different variations of Iron Oxide, Ilmenite, and Rutile – I’ve run a series of tests substituting Red Iron Oxide, for other oxides available in my lab. It was a pretty good series, although on some of the oxides, I overshot the ideal % and on a few I think it could be more.

Notice the 12% addition of Earthenware clays in 8,9, and 10 produce some pretty nice Celadon glazes!

MT Series
MT Series

Fisker’s West Palm Ash

Here’s an interesting glaze inspired by a locally abundant material – dead palm fronds. Every week  throughout South Florida the streets fill up with piles of dead vegetation from people pruning their trees and plants.  With a 12 month growing cycle, they’re EVERYWHERE.


To utilize this stuff, I started by collecting about a half of a pickup truck’s worth of dead palm fronds. Collecting all of this stuff took about 10 minutes, and I didn’t have to go very far. I then setup a perforated burn barrel with a grated floor. I burned down everything, and collected the ash in a tray under the barrel.  Once I collected the ash, I added it all to a 5 gallon bucket and ‘washed’ it, by dumping out the top layer of chunks and oily looking stuff. I  gave it 24 hours, and came back out and stirred it, and repeated for the next few days. Fin ally, I poured the mix through a 40 mesh sieve into a bisque drying platter and let the stuff dry out. After that I crushed it into a powder and pushed it through an 80m sieve. Quite a bit of work, but a truly unique material.

Matt's West Palm Ash Glaze
Fisker’s West Palm Ash Glaze

Given that the soil here in Florida has so much Silica by virtue of all the sand it contains, I had the thought that its be likely that palm tree ash would have a much higher % of silica than say, hardwood ash.  I haven’t had it tested for the side-by-side chemical composition, but my initial tests seem very promising. My next step is to dredge up some clay-like muck from the canal across the street, and mix in calcined seashells for good measure. If the canal silt doesn’t do the trick, I’ll try some clay/silt from the Intracoastal waterway (A brackish salt/freshwater channel that runs parallel to the ocean, inter-connected by inlets and canals – which ultimately  keeps South Florida from turning back into a swamp!)

Nontheless, the 3 tiles on the left were soda fired. The 2 on the right were Reduction fired to cone 10/11.  The clays from left to right are; Studio Reclaim (A bastard mix of everything), B-Mix, 550 Porcelain, Studio Mix, Porcelain. The recipe is as follows:

Fisker’s West Palm Ash

Unwashed, 80m Palm Ash 45

Nepheline Syenite 45

Redart Earthenware 10

Soda Fired Commercial Clays

So I wanted to see what all of my locally available commercial clay looked like in our Soda Kiln. I took 12 commercially available clay bodies tested in this base recipe to get an idea which were more likely to flash:

10 Nepheline Syenite, 10 200m Silica, 80 Clay

For good measure I threw in a few Shino glazes, and tried calcined EPK for the hell of it (I actually wanted to see if it deflocculated like the rest of them.. it didn’t really…)

From the 100g test batches, I then tested each slip/shino on Laguna 550 Porcelain, B-Mix, and Miller 510 Stoneware in 2 firings that were unfortunately pretty similar in atmosphere and soda introduction. First firing on top, 2nd on bottom. Tiles were scattered throughout the kiln, so some got blasted, others not so much.  Standard body reduction and reduction firing to cone 9/10, heavy reduction during soda intro, and reduction cooling from 2300-1800F. I scanned the sides that were more interesting, or showed more variation. Hope this helps you narrow down what you might be looking for with soda fired clay slips!