search  current discussion  categories  forms - plates 

identify the mystery plates!!

updated tue 14 sep 99


Jerry Crimmins on mon 13 sep 99

Hi everybody!

My Name is Jerry and I am a Potter. . .

I've been a member on this excellent list for about three weeks. I have been
potting since 1987. I learned from a man named Allen Miller. My pottery still
bears a strong resemblance to his excellent work but I am gradually moving in
different directions from him.

I think slip casting is fine, I think jiggering, hump molding, slab building
coiling pinching draping or any method of manufacturing process (in any
endeavor) has its own penalties and rewards.

I've made a few molds and they worked out fine until (Mel mentioned this
possibility) I dropped a large, full, slip casting mold on my right foot and
crushed my "Great Right Toe" to smithereens. This is true, I'm not making
this up.

My "Great Right Toe." That is how the doctor referred to my pulverized big
toe on the right foot. As you will see this was a fitting punishment for my
efforts at slip casting but not because slip casting is a fraudulent process,
it is not. The fraud is in the human heart not in the clay. Read on...

Before it crushed "My Great Toe," the mold was working well, it was a mold
made from a fairly wobbly slumped shouldered round pot I had thrown. I liked
the twist, it seemed to be turning when I looked at it. BTW: To dry your mold
quickly: Put a fan on it while turns slowly on a wheel.

I confess that I'm a bit of a trouble maker and the intention of this mold in
conjunction with a special glazing process was to defraud, er .... I
mean to take advantage of the hand made wood fired pottery craze. I used the
Leach Porcelain formula, pouring it freshly mixed as slip and defloculated
with a bit of bentonite directly into this twisty basket ball sized cavity.
The mold was a crude cube about 14 inches to each side.

After opening the mold and cleaning the mold lines, I put the product through
a high bisque. It was then sprayed somewhat patchy and uneven in thickness,
thicker about the shoulder, with Barnard Slip. When that was dry, it was
sprayed lightly all over but heavier on the neck & shoulder with a cone O6
clear glaze then fired to cone ten in moderate reduction. I made two of these
pots, like bookends. It takes some practice to get the running just right,
you might want to fire the first few on an old shelf or something disposable.

This glazing process was developed by my professor whose name I wont mention,
the process itself was called "Kelp Glaze" and apparently its a dead ringer
for a heavy ash fall. I seriously cannot know if its true because I have
never seen a heavy Ash fall or any wood fired piece as far as I know, I must
have seen some at the shows and what not, but none that stuck in my memory.

How ever, at the first sale where I displayed these vases I received
innumerable questions and requests! People were going MAD over these pots!!
Until each query was quietly informed that A: they were slip cast and B:
fired in a reduction gas kiln not a wood burner and it was not an ash fall
but "Kelp Glaze."

Seriously some people refused to believe it wasn't wood fired ash fall,
couldn't believe it wasn't hand thrown, and insisted I was joking. I was
joking, but they weren't getting it. I had to turn it over and show them the
crooked mold line on the foot to prove it.

Of course they didn't sell because ... I cannot sell a lie....

You may groan and moan, but the story is true. The proof of this story can be
found below!

This is NO LIE!

These Plates Are Mysterious!! They Are Old!! HOW OLD ARE THEY??? They are so
old that no one remembers how old they are! See these old plates and take a
guess! There's no reward like the reward of a job well done that helps your
fellow potter!!

I really do need HELP to identify these beautiful, possibly, 400 year old
plates ... no kidding.


And If You want to Check Out the Fake Ash Glaze there is a LINK to that there
too. I already told you how to do the Kelp Glaze, now you can see what it
looks like. This works on thrown pots too, you don't have to slip cast to be
a cheater LOL!