Salt glazing is an ancient atmospheric pottery technique. The method involves introducing common salt into the kiln, which leads to "orange peel" glaze effects. Mastering salt glazing requires precise timing and technique. Let's delve into this fascinating tradition.
Salt glazing is a pottery decoration process where sodium chloride, ordinary table salt, is introduced into the kiln during the firing process. As the salt is heated, it vaporizes, creating a salty atmosphere that reacts with the clay and glaze. This interaction produces the distinctive orange peel textures and crater-like markings that define salt-glazed pottery.
This technique is only applicable in high-fire gas or wood-fired kilns that can reach temperatures over 2300°F. The superheated, salt-infused atmosphere adds unparalleled depth and vibrancy to the pottery.
The practice of salt glazing has its roots in ancient Germany, where it was used primarily as a functional technique. Its advantages include:
Today, the tradition of salt glazing is cherished more for its aesthetic appeal and historical significance than its practical function.
The characteristic effects of salt glazing are a result of several chemical reactions:
Mastering the timing and scheduling of these reactions is crucial to achieving the desired effects.
Executing the salt glazing process necessitates a precise sequence for successful results:
For the unique effects to materialize, the rapidly volatilizing salt must interact with the melted glaze.
For optimal salt glazing results, consider these recommendations:
Mastering salt glazing requires careful timing and practice, but the reward is exquisite pottery with a richness and depth that's truly unparalleled.