Old trusty (and rusty)

I’ve purchased this kiln nine years ago when I first arrived in Jingdezhen. Known as a 烤花炉, this kiln is normally used for overglaze enamels and decals. I paid about $300 USD for it. Only changed two elements in nine years.

Categorized as Work


Detail of floral brushed slip decoration
Categorized as Work


The history of ceramic slip decoration reaches far back into antiquity.  Much as ancient pottery emulated more valuable vessels in precious metals, white slips were often applied to darker clay bodies in an effort to increase “value”.  Many inventive uses for slips have evolved through the centuries, such as Cizhou black and white slip carving, Chinese “cut-glaze”… Continue reading Painted

Colors of Celadon: Iron and Titania

Following images from Bonham’s 2014 auction, The Feng Wen Tang Collection of Early Chinese Ceramics The best resource I’ve found about color in Chinese glazes is Nigel Wood’s Chinese Glazes.  Chapter 8, Iron in Chinese Glazes, covers iron in detail, while celadons are covered throughout the book. There’s a great range of colour in Chinese celadons.  In traditional… Continue reading Colors of Celadon: Iron and Titania

Categorized as Glazes

Glazy: One Year Old

One year old! Exactly one year ago, Glazy registration was opened to the public. Since then, we’ve made a ton of improvements and added many more recipes. Thank you! 94% of website server fees have been paid with your generous donations. Thanks to all of you who have added recipes, photos, and contributed valuable ideas… Continue reading Glazy: One Year Old

Categorized as Glazes, Glazy

Razor trimming

I’m not sure if double-edged safety razor are still available in the West, but here in Jingdezhen they are an essential trimming tool.  These razors are thin, sharp, and most importantly flexible.  Great for wheel-trimming details on small forms, or for scraping hand-built objects.  The most used brand is Flying Eagle.  I get the more expensive stainless… Continue reading Razor trimming

Categorized as Technique

Glaze Transparency Test

Recently I’ve been wondering if there’s a reliable way to test glazes for transparency.  A method that would allow one to compare results from different firings and glaze types. Paint manufacturers have a system for testing paint opacity that uses a black and white card from which a contrast ratio can be calculated. The primary manufacturer is Leneta.… Continue reading Glaze Transparency Test

Sashi-ire hana no futami 挿入花の二見

Images of Japanese flower arrangement from the woodblock-printed book Sashi-ire hana no futami (挿入花の二見) made in 1798 by the amazing Katsushika Hokusai. Images generously made available by the British Museum.  I have cropped and adjusted levels of the original scans.  These are full-sized images, right-click to save. Two beautiful books of modern Japanese flower arrangement by Kawase Toshiro: The… Continue reading Sashi-ire hana no futami 挿入花の二見

Categorized as Antiques

Kawase Hasui

A wonderfully romantic view of a Japanese pottery.  Link here. Ukiyo-e.org is an amazing collection of Japanese woodblock prints.

Categorized as Antiques

Brother Thomas Bezanson

From Creations in Clay, a book of essays and photographs of Brother Thomas Bezanson’s work: For many years of my work as a potter I was concerned with learning the skills and technologies proper to the potter’s art.  I was focused on looking back to accomplishments of the past; I was open to those men and… Continue reading Brother Thomas Bezanson

Categorized as Ceramics

Scanning Test Tiles

Having purchased a scanner for digitizing my family’s old photos, I had the brilliant idea to also scan glaze test tiles.  I thought I was a genius until Matthew Katz mentioned that he had been scanning tiles for the past ten years. Matthew noted that CCD scanners have a greater depth of field, which is great for three-dimensional… Continue reading Scanning Test Tiles

Smartphone Microscopy

Iron Red (Kaki) Glaze

Last year I purchased a USB microscope (see article).  It’s pretty fun, but ultimately I was really disappointed by the quality of the images.  The 5MP sensor seems pretty cheap and images have a lot of artifacts.  Furthermore I was never satisfied with the color. The best choice would probably be a “real” microscope with… Continue reading Smartphone Microscopy

Spraying Glaze

The spray canister is attached via rubber hose. A shut-off valve to controls air flow.

Spraying glaze is a fairly complicated process.  There are craftspeople in Jingdezhen whose only job is going from workshop to workshop spraying glaze.  There are so many factors involved with spraying (the type of work, thickness of work, type of glaze, glaze consistency, air pressure, spray head type, even weather) that it requires years of experience to… Continue reading Spraying Glaze