New Information

I spent a few hours this weekend measuring out and mixing test glazes and getting them fired. In the end I had one potential out of the three that I tested, but it was still not quite what I was after. I guess in all I've put quite a bit of time into trying to find a good clear base glaze that fires to cone 03-02 and that works well with oxides and over my white slip.
On Sunday I decided I would break down and write a well known potter to ask for his/her clear glaze recipe. (Over the past 16 years, only once have I had a potter tell me 'no' when I have asked for some information) I emailed 'Potter X' outlining my tests and my problems, asked for the recipe and stated that I'd understand if they were not willing to share.

Within hours I had a reply. It was simply "Amaco LG 10"

What!!?? I couldn't believe it. Potter X was using a standard, readily avaliable commercial glaze. I was expecting a more complicated answer. Here is a potter who has an MFA in ceramics, I had assumed the glaze would be one that he/she had worked out during grad. school, struggling with the formula, getting it right only after years of intense struggle.

But the more I thought about it the more it made sense. It's a simple, transparent glaze. Why not use something off the shelf? It's not like it's a signature copper red, or fancy crystalline glaze. It's a clear glaze. Potter X makes lots of pots. The deco. is really wonderful and the forms are fun and inviting to use. Potter X has his/her priorities worked out, form and decoration are the primary areas where the most time and energy is spent. Potter X is also a keen marketer, and successful at selling pots. I could have made and decorated a hundred cups in the time I've spend testing glazes. That's over $2000 worth of pots I could have made.

Now, I'm not saying that I am going to go out and get some commercial glaze. (Maybe I will though). I am getting close to finding what I want, with Leon's (my glaze guru) help. But I just wanted to put this out there as an example of how my assumptions about another potter were wrong, and how I have been thinking how important it is to work out this glaze, when Potter X on the other hand is (I assume) making pots in an efficient manner, focusing on what is most important to getting a quality, hand made, unique pot out to the world.

What works for one may not work for everyone else, but over the years I have become more and more open to trying new things and letting some of my dogmas go. How do I want to spend my time? Where can I be more efficient? How can I improve my pots? How can I embrace new technology? Or do I want to stay within a certain frame of thought and tradition? All good questions.

I just thought this would provide some good discussion. I don't know if it's important that you know who Potter X is. I don't guess it really matters. What is important is that I learned something new this weekend, not really about glaze so much as how I think and work.

Happy Monday to you all, I hope it's a good week.