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salt kiln literature

updated mon 31 mar 97


Monona Rossol on sun 16 mar 97

Gavin Stairs wrote:

> I saw your post on the Clayart list about salt kilns. I take it your salt
> kiln experience has not been positive. <

I LOVED it! The danger alone was a turn on back in those days. But I salt
fired at my farm where you couldn't even see another house from my place. I
was aware that I wasn't exactly helping the environment, but at least I
wasn't polluting or annoying any neighbor.

> I wonder if you can give me some citations. I'm not familiar with the Brick
> Clay Record. Is that a current journal? <

I believe the Brick and Clay Record died in the 1960's, but all the old
issues should be in any good Engineering library. I know the ceramics
industry started another similar publication, but its been so many years that
I can't come up with the name.

> If not, do you know of a library somewhere with a archive? Also, you refer
> to the Ceramic Engineering literature: do you know which of the several
> journals carried this work? <

I used the University of Wisconsin's Engineering Library on University
Avenue. (It has now moved to the corner of Randall Av and Dayton St and is
called the Wendt Library---for those Clayarters in Madison at the U.) I
spent a great deal of time in the engineering library in the past because
there were so many good practical industry publications. And even better,
there were TEXTS and BOOKS on the subject. You'll have to wade through some
differential equations, but the good stuff is in there.

> Most of the journal articles that I run across
> are about the processing and properties of pure substance engineered
> ceramics. I don't know who publishes on the messy business of the ancient
> arts. <

Get over thinking that salt glazing is an "ancient art." Sewer tile,
dinner ware, and tons of other salt glazed wares are being made as we speak.
Its the same exact process. These industries will have a technical
publication somewhere that will be very useful.

To be perfectly frank, I did so much work on the technical aspects of
ceramics back then, that I don't feel the need to keep up on this area
anymore. But there is an explosion of new information in artist's paint
pigments and vehicles, so I get my technical information from the Journal of
Paintings and Coatings Technology. This mag goes only to the paint industry
and I subscribe. For information on historic art paints and pigments I go
to the museum and art conservation literature. Artist's publications
rarely cover these subjects and when they do, they get it all wrong or are
trying to over-sell somebody's new art product. These publications are
useless, self-promoting, individual artist-worshipping, hype and claptrap.

> Not many read the Brick Clay Record, I'd imagine. <

That's what bothered me when I was in school. All my graduate seminar papers
were on health hazards (from the medical library) or technical aspects of
ceramic processes (from the engineering library). I presented the technical
information in the hopes that we could more intelligently experiment,
modify, or control our work. Instead, the students and teachers alike all
seemed to want to experiment in ignorance, shout "eureka" when something
unexpected occurred, and then steadfastly remain ignorant in order to convince
themselves they had "discovered" something.


Well! I feel a lot better, thank you.

Monona Rossol, industrial hygienist
Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety
181 Thompson St., # 23
New York, NY 10012-2586 212/777-0062