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identifying glaze ingredients from 1975 book

updated sun 20 aug 00

 

Andie on wed 16 aug 00


Okay, I know this post will make me look like an idiot, but I just got =
my hands on a pretty old glaze book, and need some help identifying many =
of the ingredients talked about in the recipes and text. I've either =
never heard of many of them or have heard of them, but never had any =
reason to use them. I need to have a clue about them to understand the =
techniques and historical information talked about throughout the =
book.Any info about the following (what it is, is it safe, what could be =
substituted) would be greatly appreciated.=20

Buckingham Feldspar
Godfrey Feldspar
Maine Feldspar
Yellow Ochre
Georgia Kaolin (any different from other kaolins?)
Colemanite (someone once told me Gerstly Borate or the new GB subs can =
be used in place of this - true?)
Red Slate Powder
Calcined Red Slate Powder (different from above RSP?)
Granite Powder
Epidote Powder
50 Mesh Traprock

: ) Andie



EMAIL: andie@princessco.com

OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE: www.andie.net

Janet Kaiser on thu 17 aug 00


Oh dear! Made to feel like "An Ancient" yet
again! We folk who were young and nifty students
in 1975, producing earth shattering new
ceramics, are now known as historical items!

Well let me tell you young whipper snappers...

Most of what you list, is from the US so cannot
comment, although I have empirical formulae for
Eureka Potash Feldspar, Kingman Potash Feldspar
and Custer Potash Feldspar as published in CR44,
March/April 1977 and believe Georgia is (with
South Carolina and Alabama) historically one of
the most important sources of very good quality
kaolin in the US. Probably still is?

Re: Red Slate Powder and Granite dust... These
are at least generic and available in most
countries. They are the bi-product of quarrying
and dressing slate and granite respectively.

To my certain knowledge slate comes from the NE
of U.S.A. (Vermont, NY, Pennsylvania) and
Canada, because a lot of slate miners and
workers emigrated there from North Wales in the
1930s and MacAlpine's owns quarries there today.
Some of the men recently made redundant at our
local slate quarries were offered jobs there, so
they must still be in production.

Anyway, I digress. Slate dust is a very fine
powder (use a mask), but to my knowledge not a
very exciting ingredient for glazes. At least
that was my experience experimenting in the
1970s. I recently passed some slate dust on to a
local potter who wanted to experiment with it,
but have not had any feedback yet.

Why do people have to re-try what has already
been tried and tested? Anyway, I have certainly
not been alone in testing slate dust in the
past... Apparently Lynette Gayden published her
findings some time back. (Coincidentally Lynette
lives and works in the same village). She also
came to the same conclusion that it was not
worth using.

I cannot think calcination would make any
difference. Just means it has been fired before.
A bit pointless when slate dust is already an
extremely fine powder.

Although free for anyone to collect here in
North Wales and no doubt anywhere else slate is
quarried and/or mined, it is very heavy to carry
and/or ship.

Granite is even heavier. The granite quarry up
the road is only open part time and not longer
dresses the stone, so granite dust is more hard
to come by here. I saw mention of a granite in
glaze recently, but cannot remember where. Will
let you know if it resurfaces.

To put it into the requested historical
context... I would say that the 1960s and 1970s
saw a huge blossoming of "exploratory ceramics".
We were the first of the current generation of
potters and clay artists who sought new
materials and techniques.

And dare I say it? The start of the current
"art" movement in ceramics. Moving away from the
traditional functional and decorative to the
"anything goes" culture. Experimentation being
the reason d'Ítre and not the means to an end.

As Flower children we were also looking for
alternatives to the manufactured materials.
Local products had come back into fashion and
vogue. After all, they were free. In the same
way as many on this list are looking at how they
can use local clays today, we looked at and
experimented with all sorts of stuff. "We" being
those of a craft-potter as well as those of the
art fraternity. From hippy drop outs to
university academics, we were on the
"alternative materials and technologies" roll.

I spent hours burning rhododendron wood to make
and test my going-to-make-me-famous ash glaze.
Slate. Local clay from the beach, the river,
even dredged from the bottom of the Mersey!
(Worried about heavy metals? Never heard of
them!) All were more or less boring, usually
very disappointing some were down right awful.
But we had a go. It was exciting and novel. We
were breaking the mould. (Oops!)

Many books were written in the euphoria of those
times. So to some extent, I always treat the
information in them with a pinch of salt, now I
am an old wrinkly.

You do not mention which book or by whom?
Whoever it was, they may have been one of those
"pioneers" of the era. Every country has them...
They all went to weird and wonderful lengths at
times. Like those awful used diesel oil kilns!
Who will ever forget the stench? The
environmentalists would faint at the thought
today!


Janet Kaiser - Thinking I am going to shave my
head tomorrow. Get rid of all this grey. One
thing being an Ancient, another looking like
one!
The Chapel of Art . Capel Celfyddyd
HOME OF THE INTERNATIONAL POTTERS' PATH
Criccieth LL52 0EA, GB-Wales Tel: (01766) 523570
E-mail: postbox@the-coa.org.uk
WEBSITE: http://www.the-coa.org.uk

----- Original Message -----
From: Andie
Subject: Identifying Glaze Ingredients From 1975
Book


Okay, I know this post will make me look like an
idiot, but I just got my hands on a pretty old
glaze book, and need some help identifying many
of the ingredients talked about in the recipes
and text. I've either never heard of many of
them or have heard of them, but never had any
reason to use them. I need to have a clue about
them to understand the techniques and historical
information talked about throughout the book.Any
info about the following (what it is, is it
safe, what could be substituted) would be
greatly appreciated.

Buckingham Feldspar
Godfrey Feldspar
Maine Feldspar
Yellow Ochre
Georgia Kaolin (any different from other
kaolins?)
Colemanite (someone once told me Gerstly Borate
or the new GB subs can be used in place of
this - true?)
Red Slate Powder
Calcined Red Slate Powder (different from above
RSP?)
Granite Powder
Epidote Powder
50 Mesh Traprock

: ) Andie

Veena Raghavan on fri 18 aug 00


Message text written by Ceramic Arts Discussion List
>
Janet Kaiser - Thinking I am going to shave my
head tomorrow. Get rid of all this grey. One
thing being an Ancient, another looking like
one!<

Thank you Janet, for a very interesting look back. Unfortunately, I
was not involved with clay in the sixties and seventies. Instead I was
living a fairly mundane prim and proper life a l'anglais in India, getting
married, having kids, and being thoroughly upper middle class! If we delved
in the arts, it was as a social past-time not as a vocation, and only got
involved in sculpting and painting because of Sardar Gurcharan Singh, who
has been mentioned on this list, and who was the father of modern day
pottery in India.

Being ancient, wrinkled and gray-haired (haven't seen you, so do
not know if you really are), I wish I had been a part of the clay and art
world in the sixties and seventies, must have been fun. I think perhaps
people were more adventurous then, more passionate, more committed. There
was less daily stress than there is in everyone's lives today, and people
had the time to be more human.

After reading your post, at least I will know not to go out and
look for some slate dust, although I would really truly love a piece of
that wonderful Welsh slate as a wedging board in my new studio!

All the best.

Veena

Veena Raghavan
75124.2520@compuserve.com

Janet Kaiser on sat 19 aug 00


Dear Veena,

I think every generation thinks it was
passionate and the hottest since the sacking of
Rome! Hard to be objective really. Indeed, I
find I am sounding more and more like my
grandmother, the older I get!

Yes, the 70s were a great time to be a student,
although we felt as though we were the second
generation. The swinging 60s had been the real
mould breakers. I can only really speak for the
UK/Europe, although my time at SUNY, Plattsburgh
& New York opened my eyes to what was happening
in the USA.

To my mind (and feel free to contradict me folks
:-) this was the time of the Big Schism which we
are still trying to resolve in our endless art
versus craft threads. The 70s was the time when
ART became more important than the CRAFT(MANSHIP
and SKILLS).

This came about "naturally" because visual and
fine artists were busy "discovering" clay and
taking over pottery departments in universities.
The establishment began distancing itself from
anything vaguely blue collar or manual.

It did not only affect the Arts. Suddenly we had
a huge number of graduates who were theorists.
Not many had hands-on experience of their chosen
subjects.

It was against this background that the
"alternative" culture was reacting in many ways.
The hippy making hand-made pots to drink out of?
Well, they were extremely novel. Yes, passions
did get roused. This was after all the time of
Flower Power, the anti-Vietnam movement, student
disquiet in Europe, the birth of the
Bader-Meinhoff and other radical groups like the
Greens, anti-nuclear & nuclear disarmament, etc.
etc.

We either took part or we sat back and watched.
The passion went into all sorts of things and we
were utterly committed. In retrospect, they
really were exciting times. And personally I
believe it is healthier to be a jeans-wearing
radical when we are young. Not the suit-and-tie
brigade we see at universities these days...
Conforming from cradle to grave. How utterly
boring and unimaginative! As you say, stressful
in extreme.

A big worry too. Those of the far left in my
student days are now right of centre. If
youngsters start out right of centre, where is
it all going to lead us? So far right they will
all fall off the planet.

Not my problem though... I remain a rebel!
Certainly not committed to gaining wealth and
trampling people along the way. So when (not
"if" :-) I win the lottery, I will send a very
large Welsh slate wedging table to you! The
postage will cost from 50 times the price of the
slate, but as Phil Rogers has already said, it
is the best possible material. And I would want
the best for my friends, especially when they
are Path Makers.

Janet Kaiser - Off to find space for visiting
family. Shame our house does not have
elasticated walls or magic cupboards.
The Chapel of Art . Capel Celfyddyd
HOME OF THE INTERNATIONAL POTTERS' PATH
Criccieth LL52 0EA, GB-Wales Tel: (01766) 523570
E-mail: postbox@the-coa.org.uk
WEBSITE: http://www.the-coa.org.uk

----- Original Message -----
> Thank you Janet, for a very interesting look
back. Unfortunately, I
> was not involved with clay in the sixties and
seventies. Instead I was
> living a fairly mundane prim and proper life a
l'anglais in India, getting
> married, having kids, and being thoroughly
upper middle class! If we delved
> in the arts, it was as a social past-time not
as a vocation, and only got
> involved in sculpting and painting because of
Sardar Gurcharan Singh, who
> has been mentioned on this list, and who was
the father of modern day
> pottery in India.
>
> Being ancient, wrinkled and gray-haired
(haven't seen you, so do
> not know if you really are), I wish I had been
a part of the clay and art
> world in the sixties and seventies, must have
been fun. I think perhaps
> people were more adventurous then, more
passionate, more committed. There
> was less daily stress than there is in
everyone's lives today, and people
> had the time to be more human.
>
> After reading your post, at least I
will know not to go out and
> look for some slate dust, although I would
really truly love a piece of
> that wonderful Welsh slate as a wedging board
in my new studio!
>
> All the best.
>
> Veena

Ronan ORourke on sat 19 aug 00


Hi Janet

i can't take issue with your views of the art/craft scene
in the seventies, i wasn't there. your analysis of the
major trends of the time is enlightening.

your view of the present state of art students is
however something i feel compelled to challenge.
i graduated in ceramics from Wolverhampton
this summer, and the idea of being part of a
"suit-and-tie brigade" fills me with horror.

i can reliably inform you that i own only one suit
and two ties, one black (funerals), one blue (weddings/
interviews).
unfortunately i own no shoes which are suitable to be
worn with this suit and consequently have to borrow
a pair from my dad if any of the aforementioned
occasions should arise.

as to being right of centre, i think you tar a generation
with a very broad brush.

this generation is out there making its voice heard.
direct action is now a refined art practiced by a broad
range of single issue and broader based groups.
Reclaim The Streets regularly close down city centres
all over England and throw a party while there at it.

there are all so still a lot of student potters trying to brake
new ground.

Ronan

ever guilty for not having got round to making
that tile yet