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Shivering in Spring

Doesn't it always happen?  A few weeks before a big show, when you're really feeling the pressure, something breaks or fails or gives you some unnecessary trouble.  I've been using this same ash glaze recipe for many years.  Obviously it's always worked well, a real tried and true performer.

Until now.

When I opened the kiln yesterday I found shivering on a couple of pieces.  I wasn't sure why and I kept on defeating my own arguments about why.  You know how we second guess ourselves in times of panic.
Glaze Issues

So I went to the internet, to one of the Facebook groups I belong to named Clay Buddies.  I'm normally pretty quiet in this group because by the time I see a post 50 people have already answered it and I don't think anyone needs my thoughts at that point.

A few people answered my post and with a collective knowledge I was able to make an educated guess at what I think is the problem and solution.  The shivering is caused by more clay than flux (the ash).  I have normally used ash from a fireplace but this time it was from a wood kiln.  Having been in the heat for so long more of the silica in the wood may have burned out and been sent to the pots in that kiln leaving less for mine.  It's either that or I measured my ingredients, which is also a possibility.  The good news is that it shouldn't be difficult at all to figure out if it's the ash or the potter and I have some solutions.

Thanks to the world of potters who are always willing to help another.

Other Stuff:

Six Easy Steps to Stop Glaze Shivering

Ash Glaze Recipe:
1 part clay (om-4 or red art)
1 part ash

2% cobalt or copper for color

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff


  1. If you aren't doing anything, you don't make any mistakes.

    Love that cliche. 1st heard in the 80's from a farm girl in her 70's.

    XO T

  2. You have experienced a corrolary of Murphy's Law. Toes crossed that the problem is solved with smooth sailing ahead!

    1. Thanks Smartcat, it's not that big a deal, the rest of the kiln came out okay.

  3. I was wondering if you were shivering from the cold. ha. I;ve only had one piece shiver and that was with a crackle glaze on a cont 10 clay fired to cone 6. it was a real mess I sympathize

  4. I imagine that the ash from a woodfire kiln has been subjected to higher temps than that in a firepit or fireplace. So it's as if you've calcined the ash, which would make the fit different. I've also heard not to use ash from the kiln in glazes as it's too refractory and all the good stuff that makes a yummy glaze like trace minerals has probably been vaporized. Not sure of the scientific validity, but makes sense to me.

    1. Hi BP, welcome to the blog and thanks for your comments. What you wrote makes sense to me. I didn't even think about those factors when I made the glaze. Thankfully I just made a small batch so I'm not suffering lots of waste. I'll run some tests to see if our theory is correct.


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