(Hark! he speaks!)
An oil spot, naturally. Those glazes are somewhat of an obsession for me and the reason I fire my electric kiln to cone 9-9.75 and not to cone 6 like more sane people.
Here’s something I made in France:
It’s black, the gold is just the sun reflecting off the spots. Still pretty decent… and my first one. Little did I know how lucky I was to get this. This is what I thought was a common oil spot recipe called Candace Black. Of course I had to translate it to available materials, and some things got mangled in translation.
Here’s something I fired just a week ago, from a batch of bona fide North American material Candace Black:
The spots are numerous and delicate – quite different from the big distinct spots I got in France.
Aha, says the knowledgeable potter. The spots become bigger if you apply the glaze thicker. And they do:
Up to a point. Beyond which, disaster strikes:
The spots grow until they have nowhere else to go and then they lose the black background and just coalesce to a continuous metallic surface. And worse, they start to form unhealed bubbles.
Skip two months of painstaking testing, re testing, and reformulation… I think I’m getting somewhere:
And taking another line of research, also this:
Of course, these are small bowls that I made for testing glazes on… A different story from my 1.5 foot bowls that I’ve been dreading to glaze with a glaze that I’m not 100% sure about. We’ll see how it goes.
And while on the subject of bowls. Look what I’ve made!
Big, celadon, spiral(!)
I usually make my bowls ‘perfect’. This has caused me some aggravation since I believe the first duty of a functional pot is to function. A bowl needs to be smooth on the inside – so that if you use a spoon on it, it won’t grate. But I’ve been trying to push my boundaries. Leave the bottom smooth and push the ripple through the sides.
The spots were a surprise. Usually you get them if you don’t sieve the celadon well enough. I, however, put them there on purpose by wedging granular iron into my pristine porcelain… Not sure I’ll repeat the experiment although people inform me that it looks just like a robin’s egg.
There is actually a whole set of them – I made them to nest. But my bowls seem not to be team players – they are pots in their own right – really hard to get a multiple pot object to look good both individually and assembled. I’ll file the nesting bowl project under ‘needs more work’ and go back to admiring my celadon spiral.