[Clayart] being a chemist

ronroy at ca.inter.net ronroy at ca.inter.net
Sun Jan 19 13:36:09 EST 2020

But don't be afraid of understanding - it leads to innovation and  
makes the process so much more enjoyable. I remember the point at  
which I suddenly realized just how much even a little understanding  
made making pots so much more interesting.

Even reading a little once in a while adds so much more pleasure to  
the process. We all have had that feeling - when throwing - of "where  
did the time go? Well that's what happens when you read about clay and  

An example - the blue colour in a chun blue glaze does not come from  
cobalt or iron but from the size of the bubbles in the glaze that  
reflect blue light because of their size.


Quoting mel jacobson <melpots at mail.com>:

> most of us on this list are potters, or at least
> clay workers.
> there is a great deal to learn, and know. it is the joy of
> being a clay worker, your learning never stops.
> with the advent of computer programming, the ability to
> make glaze and having the needed help is wonderful. but...don't lose
> site of your goal. we are clay workers..potters. not research chemists.
> it can be easy to get carried away. soon you have to wear of white lab
> coat to make glaze, or like the fools that wear japanese cloths in their
> studios...`hey pal, the clothes do not make the pots`.
> i have been blessed, along with clayart to have ron roy and joe koons as
> friends and co-workers.  when i struggled, they came and got me going again.
> nils lou was a very knowledgeable fellow with technology.
> in many ways, having help with the chemistry and glaze making, allowed me
> to concentrate on kilns, plans and ideas. that led to my (our) book on kiln
> construction. you just cannot do it all with expert skill.
> i preach with a tent ministers zeal to learn, understand and work with all
> the phases of ceramics. learn what you can...just don't buy ready made in a
> jar. or have your entire pottery delivered in boxes.
> we have been blessed on clayart to have such fine glaze experts like  
> ron, bill schran
> with cystals, hank murrow and and of course carol marians..and a  
> dozen other experts to guide us. but, do not be intimidated
> with a sense that you have `no answers`...you feel like a first  
> grader. if that happens, then
> what we are doing is a negative. you do not have to have a masters  
> degree in chem to make
> pots. and reading a book full of recipes is not mastering glaze. you  
> have to know the how and
> why...as ron and john have done for us for years.  one of my fondest  
> memories is having malcom davis
> give us 39 shino recipes and to learn they were almost all the same.  
> basically two chemical
> formulas, with 37 names...soda ash, firing technique, layers and  
> reduction made all the difference.
> that is called `technique` with the recipe. and, the KILN as a  
> rather full story to tell us about glaze.
> chemistry is the first step to glaze...the final word is the kiln,  
> the temperature and the atmosphere.
> that is when the cream rises to the top.
> those that have advanced degrees in science are here to help us,  
> guide us through what is
> necessary to be a fine producer of well glazed pots. i admire them,  
> and thank them..but as
> i say...`they may not want to get into the arena of design or  
> painting. there are world class
> designers on this list that are artists, not science majors`. that  
> expertise is admired too.
> so, just a reminder if you feel left out not knowing what is going  
> on with titanium, does not
> mean you are stupid.
> mel
> website: www.melpots.com

Ron Roy
ronroy at ca.inter.net
Web page ronroy.net

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