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which glaze book to get next? /cu red reduction in electric kiln

updated wed 17 dec 97


Joyce Lee on tue 16 dec 97

I highly recommend Robin Hopper's "Ceramic Spectrum." It was the first
pottery book I purchased three years ago. I chose it because it was
advertised in an issue of Ceramics Monthly that a friend had loaned me.
I had been "into pottery" for 4 whole weeks by the time I received
Robin's book. It had been many, many years since I had studied Chemistry
or Physics or any type of mathematics, and I had "had" one puny "art"
course for need of the credit, which wasn't even a good appreciation
course. At first, reading about mixing glazes was a maze for me, but so
was throwing, hand-building and firing for they were all amazing new
concepts to my non-talented, non-technical, non-trained hands, which
didn't even seem connected to my brain during these beginning months. In
time, however, the fog began to clear spottily once I accepted that
mistakes were going to be a significant part of any growth I might
experience in clay. (Keeps us humble, eh?) As I plowed through the
seemingly heavy study of glazes, I began to understand a little about
the purpose of "line blending" and "triaxials" and "six-section
colorant mixing" (the easiest) and "developing a glaze pallet." I began
to see that mixing glazes to the level where I am presently, even though
I'm looking forward to moving beyond this stage, is like both cooking
and puzzle solving and I can do it. I'm not saying Robin's book is the
only game in town, just that it is comprehensive and is in constant use
by me as a reference. In fact, I just read about copper red reduction
in an electric kiln. I quote: "Reduced copper red glazes can be fired
in high temperature electric kilns by the addition to the glaze of 1
percent or less of 200 mesh sieved silicon carbide to promote a local
reduction," pg. 118. Hopper also cautions that "Many ceramists who work
with copper reduction glazes devote considerable time to the study,
often a lifetime. It is unwise to expect early control within an area
which has so many variables." Like I said, the book has worked for me
from newbie to intermedie and I offered several copper reds in my
first sale (although many of these pots turned out to be mauve, green,
blue and grey. Gads! Good thing. Most buyers weren't as excited by the
copper reds as I. They bought the failed mauves, greens, blues and

Enjoying Tony's nice, clever and humorous display of backpedaling in the