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salt glazed earthenware

updated thu 31 jul 97


George Mackie on sun 27 jul 97

Has anyone had any success with salt glazing at cone 04?

Back in the late 60s I wanted to make utterly primitive pottery and this
seemed about as basic as you can get. I made a wheel out of truck wheel,
dug clay from a bank by the road and fired the pots in an updraft kiln
made of common red brick salvaged from an abandonned homestead. This was
at Sugar Lake in the Monashee, where my family has an old cabin. There is
plenty of dry wood there in summer for firing the kiln but it took an
incredible amount to get it up to cone 04 on the bottom (probably about 08
on top). The children took turns stoking while I chain sawed. It didnt
really work on the pots but I got a good orange peel glaze on the bricks
lining the bottom of the kiln which shows that it ought to work in

In later firings we switched to a fritted conventional glaze and got some
nice rustic pots but Ive always wondered if salt glazing would have worked
if we had persisted with it and maybe got the kiln a bit hotter, but then
the pots would probably have shrunk and warped, as the clay was already
fully mature at cone 04.