John Kuczwal on mon 25 may 98
I think you are speaking of lustre glazes. Lustre glazes have always had
a close association with alchemy and the belief that alchemical
transmutation of a base metal into gold was possible. The alchemical
theory inherited by Islam and later by Christendom can be traced back to
Aristotle. All metals were thought to be closely related and base metals
were thought able to "die" and be "re-born" in a noble form.In some of
the earlier literature on lustre it is referred to as "transmutation"
It is possible using metals to form lustre and historically the most
common metals used were silver and copper.
The form of lustre you are referring to I think is reduced glaze lustre
- there are also reduced pigment lustre and resinate lustre (that most
commonly and easily used by potters today). Reduced lustre glazes became
common in the late 19th century (Ruskin Pottery in England, Zsolnay in
Hungary, Massier and Franchet in France).
The "peacock feather" reference may be the iridescence inherent in
lustre - colours can range from gold, red, green, blue to silver ( in
fact most of the colours of the rainbow and ever-changing in the light -
an oil on water effect). The most common lustre pigments are a
combination of copper and silver compounds, from a thin film of reduced
metal, from within the glaze itself (such as in sang-de-boeuf reds), an
underlying slip or a pigment already fired into the glaze.
The best reference I can think of for a working potter is Alan
Caiger-Smith's "Lustre Pottery" (it has recently been reprinted as a
paperback). The chapter in question and answer form with Frank Hamer is
without equal in dealing with lustre's physical and chemical principles.
Alan replies in kind in his chapter on Alchemy and Symbolism in dealing
with lustre's inward language of metaphysics. Thoroughly recommended.
Wollongong where the westerly winds are beginning to whip up whitecaps
on Lake Illawarra
Paulo Correia on tue 26 may 98
In the book A Decoragco na Construgco Civil, Lisboa 1898, there are several
lustre recepies transcripted from another book published in Lisbon in 1705,
and this tehcnic was usual in Portugal since the arab invasion. It was used
in the tiles "azulejo".
Coper sulfide 10
Iron sulfide 5
silver sulfide 1
yellow and red iron oxide 12
This is the one I can translate, the others seem like baker's recepies,
because they use ancient portuguese terms. If anyone is interested in 18
century recepies I can ask my father to translate them.
By the way this was my grandfather's book of recepies, and they worked fine
in a pine-tree leaves fired kiln.
Marcia Selsor on wed 27 may 98
I wrote a research paper on such glazes in Spain using the Rare Book Library
at University of Pennsylvania back before computers. I never got the paper
There was lacquer in a base. I'd sure like to see those recipes.
Marcia in Montana
Paulo Correia wrote:
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> In the book A Decoragco na Construgco Civil, Lisboa 1898, there are several
> lustre recepies transcripted from another book published in Lisbon in 1705,
> and this tehcnic was usual in Portugal since the arab invasion. It was used
> in the tiles "azulejo".
> Golden reflexes
> Coper sulfide 10
> Iron sulfide 5
> silver sulfide 1
> yellow and red iron oxide 12
> This is the one I can translate, the others seem like baker's recepies,
> because they use ancient portuguese terms. If anyone is interested in 18
> century recepies I can ask my father to translate them.
> By the way this was my grandfather's book of recepies, and they worked fine
> in a pine-tree leaves fired kiln.