Award winning studio potter Daniel Boyle has lived and worked in west Wales for over a decade since graduating in Studio Ceramics from Harrow College of Art in London. His work mixes both traditional and modern styles of making to create a range of wheel-based, salt-glazed pieces that have been collected and exhibited around the world.
Most work is thrown, some pots are then altered or impressed with patterns. All work is made with function in mind, things to be used and enjoyed.
The production cycle is about 4 weeks making and 2 weeks of glazing and firing to produce one kiln load of finished pots.
Using slips of different vitrifying temperatures, and with the use of a spray gun I layer them on top of each other. Putting the most vitreous on the top and firing to make this top layer break and move leaving the undercoat stable to create a base colour, exaggerating the salt-glaze effect.
I fire a 75 cubic foot sprung arched kiln on wood and oil to 1300 degrees centigrade. The firing time is around 14 hours with the addition of salt in the final 2 hours. Aiming to create an atmosphere within the kiln that when the salt vapour is introduced quite fantastic fluid qualities and colours are produced.
Hold & Behold: The Beautiful Alchemy Of Salt-Glazed Pottery
Salt-glazed pottery has a near-magical quality that leaves many pottery lovers ensorcelled. This magical sense of happenstance began centuries ago when wood-fired kilns in the Rhine Basin were packed with drift wood and wood from old barrels once used to store brine preserved food. Upon firing at very high temperatures the silica from the salt-infused wood created a sodium vapour that acted as a flux on the siliceous stoneware clay, effectively glazing the surface of the pots with sodium silicate, a type of liquid-glass. The result was salt-glazed, durable, weather resistant pottery that was sturdy enough to be used for everyday objects from mugs to chimney pots.Over time potters began to experiment with the salt-glaze firing technique adding varying levels of salt to produce the unique effects that are characteristic of salt-glaze today, such as the orange peel surface.Bernard Leach the renowned studio potter also worked with and developed the salt-glaze firing technique from his studio in St. Ives, Cornwall.And the sense of excitement that surrounded the original salt-glaze discovery is still present in salt-glazed pottery today.Simply because each salt-glazed object is so unique, its surface texture and colour the result of the rewarding and unpredictable chemistry between clay, fire and salt.This one-off quality is ever present in the work of Daniel Boyle whose salt-glazed mugs reflect every stage of the making process. From the throwing and turning marks to the impressed patterns and fluid textured glazes.Be sure to check out his latest collection, available from Brook Street Pottery.
Image Source: Daniel Boyle