Having returned to pottery after a very long lay off, I have been keen to resurrect some of the material skills and techniques of my early potting days. One project is experimenting once more with the making of ash glazes. Having a woodburning stove and a collection of fruit trees makes things a lot easier than plodding around old allotment bonfires with a wheelbarrow and spade as I once did. I am working with wood ash, but plan to expand and trial ash from a variety of plant sources. I wash the ash and then dry and sieve it before preparing a glaze mix. It is all very trial and error, and I have produced a lot of test pieces in my search for glazes that please me.
It is all about the testing
I live in a very geologically diverse county,within a 20 mile radius of my home there are rocks formed by ancient volcanoes,glaciers,deserts and warm shallow seas;the latter being rich in fossils.My aim is to reflect this in my work,and so I experiment and use these materials in a variety of ways.There is a wide range of clays ,and these I use both for producing pots and in the making of glazes and applied decoration. It is always try and try again.
Sometimes you get lucky and it works well first time.
The Wrekin,a local Shropshire landmark,closeby my workshop,is the result of volcanic activity 600 million years ago.Despite its appearance it is not an extinct volcano,but is composed of volcanic rocks.I use 3 of these ,Rhyolite,Quartzite and Dolerite in my glaze making ,and sometimes inclusions in the clay body. Although quite dull in the natural state,when combined with local clays and wood ash,all produce interesting results.