Raku Fired Pottery | Crystal Fired Pottery

Crystaline glazes are some of the most beautiful and difficult glazes a potter can accomplish. Old examples of this work usually exhibited small bursts of crystal rays, and the process was a closely guarded secret. Today, with the tools a modern potter has, it is still a longer and more complex way of glazing and firing. Unless you are very good at judging times and temperatures, a computer controlled kiln is almost a necessity.

The glaze itself is not very complicated, but it does have some rules. Crystals form in a thin layer of clear or colored glaze as zinc silicate. A "seed" at the center of the crystal is necessary. Zinc oxide needs to disolve in the glaze, but in the process, the coating becomes very runny and drips off the bottom of the pot. A catch dish is needed. Once the glaze has reached its high temperature, it is brought down to a very precise temperature where the crystals can grow. It is held at that temperature for several hours and may be increased and dropped back down and held for another time period depending on the results the artist desires. Sometimes the results are many small starburst crystals, rod shaped crystals or may be huge ginko leaf shapes.

I prefer to mix my own glazes for this effect, but I also use commericially available ones.

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