Rose Downs

The finest porcelain, the finest glazes, the finest craftsmanship.


about crystalline glazes



Crystalline pottery has been and still is the rarest and most beautiful pottery available. For this reason, this type of work is well sought after and highly prized. The process of producing this work of beauty begins at the clay. Many of the clays currently available can cause the glaze to fail in creating crystals, making the choice of clay body critical in the process. I have used both stoneware and porcelain in the past, both commercially available as well as clay that I make myself. In 2009, I began using only porcelain that I make myself. I use the finest materials available for my clays. I have worked years to perfect my throwing abilities as I believe that the form is as critical as the finish.

I make all of my glazes, again using the finest available ingredients. The materials for the crystalline process can cost as much as twice the cost of a traditional glaze. The crystals in my glazes are formed by supersaturating a glaze with zinc and silica, the major components of the crystal, then firing to 2350 degrees Fahrenheit. After reaching this critical melting point, the work is then rapidly cooled to between 2050 and 1850 degrees Fahrenheit and held at that temperature for a period of up to 12 hours. It is during this part of the firing that the crystals are actually grown. The glaze must be fluid in order for the zinc and silica molecules to migrate in the glaze and form the zinc-silicate crystals. Because of this fluidity, the glaze actually runs off the pottery. Each piece of pottery must have a stilt and a basin to collect the excess glaze that runs off the work. This means that for each work of art you purchase, I have made three pieces of pottery; the artwork itself, a stilt and a basin. The entire process is both time consuming, laborious, and costly.

After 36 to 48 hours from the beginning of the firing, the kiln is ready to unload. At this point the basin and stilt have been "glued" to the piece by the flowing glaze. I must then remove the stilt and basin, without damaging the work, and grind the edge of the pottery to produce a beautiful work of art.

Due to the nature of the glaze, no two pieces are the same. I do not control placement of the crystals and only minimally control the size of the crystals. Each piece is truly a unique work of art.



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