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Crystalline glazes are one of the most difficult and challenging glazes to produce. This is because they are unusually difficult and time-consuming to formulate and fire. They require meticulous attention to every detail.
I throw one-of-a-kind porcelain pieces, rings exactly the same diameter as the bottom of each piece and dishes to catch the glazes.
After bisque firing the pieces, I attach rings to the bottoms of the pieces, then mix glazes and apply to the pieces and place them on the dishes.
I fire only about 5 pieces at a time to over 2350 °F in the kiln, quickly dropping the temperature several hundred degrees to the range where crystals will grow. The crystals form in the glaze in a chemical reaction during cooling and grow from small nuclei created during the melting process when silica and zinc come together to form zinc-silicate.
Since Crystalline glazes are very runny and the 3-piece sets (piece, ring and dish) become one piece after firing. I have to separate them, then grind the bottoms with diamond disks and a Dremel tool.
Each glaze composition, together with the firing and cooling schedule, and glaze thickness, makes different forms and colors of crystals.
I love producing and sharing beauty from such a challenging and complex process.